Monthly Archives: May 2010

I think that was the last straw

My FLGS, The Game Parlor, has been charging folks to play in the store for about a year now, give or take a few months.

To play in the store for however long costs each player either $2 or a ticket given out with every $20 worth of purchase.  So, basically, if you play in the store, it’s kinda sorta a 10% discount.

The new policy caused a lot of heartburn when it was announced, and a lot of the complaints were legitimate I think.  Now that there are two GW stores within 15/20 minutes of GPC, there are places you can play, for free, on tables that have terrain (without having to bring your own).  The store was asking for folks to pay for something they used to get for free.

I was, with some reservations, okay with it.  I get a lot out of being able to play in the store; there’s a community there.  It’s clean, open, and well-lit.  You don’t have salespeople constantly interrupting your game.  Game Parlor’s a part of the area community in ways Games Workshop stores could never be.  Cindy, who runs GPC, is possibly the nicest person I’ve ever met.  There is a value to playing in the store.

My reservations really boiled down to to points:

  • Try other things, too.  The store keeps screwy hours, for example: being open when it’s dead at best while closing so early, professional folks in the area don’t have time to play a game.  Charge for tablespace if you must, but it’s not going to be the whole answer to the store’s financial woes.
  • They’ve now put a dollar value on supporting the store.  Before, the decision to shop in the store vs. going online was always a tough one.  “Support the store… or save $30… Hrm.”  It’s not as hard now.  So long as I shop in the store enough to generate enough tickets to play in the store… it feels like I’ve discharged my duty to the store.  
The table fees have had an effect.  It’s chased out all of the people who used to just hang out in the store but never buy anything.  I suppose that’s a good thing; I can’t see how it could be a bad thing.  Unfortunately, in the IFL, it appears to have chased out a couple of people who did shop in the store.  Some folks don’t show up in the store as often as they used to (of course, the screwy hours are more likely the cause of that.)
I learned last night that, somewhat recently (I haven’t been out to a Game Parlor in about a month thanks to surgery and recovery), the policy has changed.  They’ve run out of tickets, see.  People buy stuff in the store, get the tickets and don’t redeem them to play in-store… so they’ve run out.  Now, you’re supposed to just, you know, hang onto your receipt and have them mark it off on the receipt.
For me, this is the last straw.  
I suck at hanging onto receipts.   I do.  I also tend to buy a heap of stuff there (building up a number of tickets at once), and then nothing for a while.  That means there’s no way I’m going to be able to take advantage of the “buy stuff in the store, get to play for free” policy; those receipts are going to get lost.  This system does not work for me.
This is made even more frustrating because they have a system, in their computers, that tracks purchases: their old loyalty point system.  In the old system, you’d accrue points equal to a percentage of your purchase that you’d then be able to treat like cash.  I’ve been told that that system wouldn’t work for this but, and I say this as someone who writes code for a living, I can’t imagine why not.
So, instead of leveraging a system I know they have, they’ve devolved into this messed up, screwy system I know I’m unable to effectively participate in.
What does this mean?  If I’m going to play in the store and need something that’s between $20 & $25, I’ll buy it in the store and immediately redeem the table fee.  Otherwise, I’ll pay the $2, shop online, save heaps of money.  I want to support my local store, buy they’ve now made it too hard.

‘Ard Boyz Practice Game

I finished assembling the last 99.99% of the Deathwing Terminators I need for this weekend’s ‘Ard Boyz.  All I need at this point, really, is a hooded head from the Veterans sprue for a sergeant and I can call it done.  (And, for the purposes of ‘Ard Boyz, that’s not a biggie.)

That’s it.  All 47 models I’ll be using at ‘Ard Boyz.

I stopped by Game Parlor Woodbridge yesterday to drop off the Sternguard Veterans and, while I was in town, get in a couple of games with folks with whom I don’t normally get to game.  Since it’s on my mind (and sever other folks’ minds), I brought the Deathwing.

Unfortunately, instead of getting in the two, maybe three, games, it was just the one.  I like chit-chatting, and taking it easy… but I really should start working on getting games to move along at a better clip: I think it’d improve my performance at tournaments and (more importantly) help ensure I get to play more games outside of tournaments.

I played against Steve Schweitzer’s Salamanders.  His list (from memory) was something very much like this:

Librarian – Terminator Armor, Storm Shield, Avenger, Null Zone

Assault Terminators x9 – Thunder Hammer / Storm Shield x9
– Land Raider Crusader – Multi-melta, Storm Bolter
Sternguard Veterans x10 – Heavy Flamer, Combi-Flamer x4, Meltagun, Combi-Melta x4
– Drop Pod
Sternguard Veterans x10 – Heavy Flamer, Combi-Flamer x4, Meltagun, Combi-Melta x4
– Drop Pod

Scout Squad x10 – Telion, Sniper Rifle x8, Heavy Bolter
Tactical Squad x10 – Flamer, Multi-melta, Powerfist
– Drop Pod
Tactical Squad x10 – Meltagun, Multi-melta, Powerfist
– Drop Pod

Heavy Support
Devastator Squad x5 – Plasma Cannon x2, Lascannon x1
Thunderfire Cannon

I’m pretty confident that that list is off, since it prices out to 2580.  Not sure what I’m remembering that wasn’t there, though.  My confidence in the loadouts of the Tactical squads is particularly low.

I was running the list I talked about here.

Since it was ‘Ard Boyz practice, we randomly rolled for a mission from the list of scenarios, and ended up with #3: “Kill Da Fast Ones.”  Basically, Annihilation with Pitched Battle deployment, save that models that can move > 6″ in a round are worth 3KP and HQs are worth 2KP.

The game was incredibly brutal.

His Assault Terminators ate two and a half squads of Deathwing Terminators: taking hardly any casualties until the Deathwing Command Squad started puking up Lighting Claw wounds that allowed probability to start catching up and getting through the Storm Shields.

I made a huge mistake and put Belial (and five Terminators) up against Vulkan (and five Sternguard).  Poor rolling didn’t help, but they didn’t really stand a chance against Vulkan, who took damn near everything threw at him.  Only finally, in the next-to-last round of the game, was the Grandmaster able to get a single wound through Vulkan’s Kesare’s Mantle.  It was a Force Weapon, though, so thankfully that’s all I needed.  That’s good, because he died at the same time.

I made another mistake at the end and assaulted a tactical squad with two terminators in the last round of the game.  I didn’t have to.  They couldn’t have killed the whole squad.  Instead, they were wiped out and gave up another KP.

I had two mishaps: one was a lost in the Warp, the other allowed him to place the squad.  (The remnants of whom I just mentioned crashing against a Tactical Squad.)  When your entire army is Deep Striking, you must make peace with mishaps… but it’s a lot easier to swallow when the squad mishapping only costs ~160 points and not ~250.  Could have been worse, though.

The Grandmaster was a champ.  He killed Vulkan, and shut down half of the Librarian’s psychic powers.  A Strength 6 Force Weapon with (4 base + 1 charging + 1 Deathwing Company Standard) 6 attacks ain’t no joke, son, either.  I need to decide if I think I can get away with just using my Librarian model, or if someone’s going to give me grief that he’s not a Grey Knight on Sunday.

At the end of the game, I had 2 models left on the table.  Two models, one in each squad.  I gave up 11KP and took 13KP.  It was a brutal, bloody fight: excellent.

In terms of results, I copped a Minor Victory, with probably +2 Battle Points (I’m 99% sure I killed 1,000 points worth of his guys and I had a scoring unit in his deployment zone).  He got +3 Battle Points (he killed 2,000 points of my guys and he had some scoring units in my deployment zone).

A really, really good game.

What’s next

This weekend, in addition to wrapping up the last of the Sternguard, I also managed to put together all of the Deathwing Terminators I need for ‘Ard Boyz: 16 of them.  They’re all done, except I need another hooded Dark Angels veteran head for one of the three sergeants I put together.  Since it’s just ‘Ard Boyz, I’m not too worried about it for now.  The key is having the wargear accurately reflected.
Watching Iron Man 2 really stoked my fire and locked in my resolve to redo my Tau.  I’m debating keeping with my current paint scheme, which I both love and think is really unique (a bright, clean turquoise, with light grey as a secondary color), or switching to a realistic battleship grey scheme that leverages Vallejo Model Colors.
At the same time, having just put together so many damn terminators, though, I think I’m officially burned out on assembling models.  So, for the short term, I’m done putting stuff together.  I need a break.  I’ve got to focus on 1) gaming and 2) painting.  That means I’ll probably finish painting my Dark Heresy mini and then maybe do some Malifaux stuff or something.

Sternguard Veterans – 10/10

Well, I’m finally done with the Sternguard!  I hand them over on Tuesday!

Last week, I got a new camera, a Canon PowerShot SD780IS, as my old camera doesn’t hold a charge and takes minutes to process pictures.  For point-and-shoot photography, this thing is like night and day.  For the macro photography required when taking pictures of minis… I need to learn how best to do it with this new thing.  That’s okay… but it’ll take a little bit.

As a result, the following pictures have had to go through Picasa for touching up.  They’re not necessarily my best pictures.

Battle Brother VIII:

Battle Brother IX:


The whole group:

Hell has frozen over!

There’s a FAQ out for War of the Ring!

It’s not quite where they normally hide FAQs, but you can find it here.

Haven’t really started reading it yet, but any FAQ > no FAQ.


And, there it is:

Q. Does an Epic Strike affect the Hero’s fight for both a Heroic duel and the ensuing fight?
A. Yes – there’s gonna be a whuppin’.

I think this is a mistake… but at least it settles the question.

First Stab a Tau Lists

So, here are some first cuts at some Tau Empire lists. I’ve been following The Tau of War for kind of a long time.  While I haven’t feverishly analyzed his lists, I’d like to think that a few things that maybe sunk in:

  • Fire Warriors are for objective holding, not for leveraging 30″ Pulse Rifle shots.  They belong in Devilfish that stay off the table as long as possible.  Small squads, good.  Big squads, wasteful.
  • Shas’el w/ Targeting Arrays are almost as good as Shas’o but cost 15 points less.
  • Shield Drones are good for Broadsides.  Gun Drones are almost as good, and are cheaper for everything else.

… that sort of thing.

I’ve taken some quick stabs at 1,000 point and 1,500 point lists; I don’t have any illusions about them being great, or even good… but they’re a starting point.

The 1,000 point list, in particular, seems awful… light to me.  10 Kroot, 5 Suits, 2 vehicles and some stuff that hides off the table as long as possible skeeves the crap out of me.  It’d probably be worth converting that Hammerhead into more Kroot or Stealthsuits or something.

Shas’el – Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, HW Multi-tracker, Targeting Array

Crisis Team x2 – Missile Pod x2, Flamer x2

Fire Warriors x8
– Devilfish – D. Pod
Fire Warriors x8
– Devilfish – D. Pod
Kroot x10

Fast Attack
Piranha x1 – Fusion Blaster, D. Pod, Flechette Discharger

Heavy Support
Broadsides x2 – Targeting Array x2
Hammerhead – Railgun, SMS, D. Pod, Decoy Launchers

The 1,500 list just stacks on top of that.  Doubles down on the Shas’el, adds a small Stealth Team, upgrades the Broadsides a smidge and adds the Barracuda.

Why the Barracuda?  It’s IA, not codex, and points-heavy, I know.  Really, I’m throwing it in there ’cause I want motivation to finish putting the thing together and paint it.  I expect a few games after putting it on the table, it’ll be replaced with Pathfinders, another Piranha, and more suits of some sort.

Shas’el – Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, HW Multi-tracker, Targeting Array
Shas’el – Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, HW Multi-tracker, Targeting Array

Crisis Team x3 – TL Missile Pod x3, Flamer x3, Team Leader w/ Bonding Knife
Stealth Team x3

Fire Warriors x8
– Devilfish – D. Pod
Fire Warriors x8
– Devilfish – D. Pod
Kroot x10

Fast Attack
Piranha x1 – Fusion Blaster, D. Pod, Flechette Discharger

Heavy Support
Broadsides x2 – Targeting Array x2, Team Leader w/ HW Drone Controller, Shield Drones x2
Hammerhead – Railgun, SMS, D. Pod, Decoy Launchers

Any thoughts?

(No clue on the source of the Fire Warrior image.  Clearly w/o permission.)

Considering the Greater Good

One of my friends, as I’ve mentioned, is starting to sip the 40K Kool-Aid, and is considering buying into the game.  Another friend, likely motivated at least a little bit by said Kool-Aid sipping, is finally taking a long-postponed plunge into the game (the high quality and low price point of the Wargames Factory Shock Troopers probably didn’t hurt, either).  I’ll be walking them through how to play the game and letting them get a feel for the armies they’re interested in tomorrow night.

It’s got me thinking about how nice it’ll be for them to progress in the game at roughly the same pace.  It’s also got me thinking that this is a great opportunity to start a new army; one I can grow at the same pace theirs do.  I don’t need another army, though, and I’m not altogether sure I want one.  I’m only just now really getting to the point where I can cut loose with my Daemons.

At the same time, I’m thinking about the upcoming Forge World Friendly tournament, where players will be encouraged to put as much FW resin on the table as their hearts desire.  I’ll be running, not playing in the event, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about FW resin… and when I think about FW resin, I think Tau.

The Tau Empire was my first 40K army.  I’d only bought into it because I figured I’d get tired of painting Skaven.  I made the switch to Dark Angels about a year later, then 5th came out, and I’ve never really come back to the Tau.  I’ve never figured out how to play them in 5th though, to be fair, I’ve never really tried.

It’s a shame, too, because my Tau aren’t fully painted, and I’ve got some cool stuff just waiting to hit the table.  It’s kind of criminal that I’ve got a shoebox with a Barracuda, Remora Drones and Shas’o R’myr just… sitting, unassembled, in it.

Plus, I’ve come a really, really long way in terms of my painting skill.  When I started painting my Tau, I hadn’t really done any miniature painting in nearly ten years.  I’m much better, now.

See what I mean?  It’d be nice to revisit the army.

Right now, I’m telling myself that the Tau would be a better match up against my friends’ new armies.  Certainly better than the Daemons, which are a quirky army before to zero in on filling it with nothing but things that scream, “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.”  That, and starting small will help me relearn the army.  I can’t sit down and write a 2,000 point list for them; I just can’t.  A 1,000 point list, though, is kinda doable and growing it to 1,500 shouldn’t be too hard.

So, for the next little bit, while I wrap up Sternguard and get my Khornate conversions for non-Khornate models lined up (still need to post about Tzeentch), I’m going to be doing some thinking about what a small Tau Empire list might look like.  I do know that any list will see a lot of that resin.

So, who knows?

(Tau Pathfinder image is by slipgatecentral.  Used w/o permission.)

Revising the Dark Angels?

When Ron posted about his Deathwing, I have to admit that I made a face.  
His list isn’t codex legal, it’s just stuff that he wants to play, in terms of theme, fluff, and Unforgiven.  This sort of thing is totally fine for casual games, or games in a small group.  Jervis isn’t going to kick his door in and arrest him for Doing It Wrong or anything… but it’s not entirely portable.  It’s not the sort of thing you can take to a tournament.  With as large a player base as we have in the IFL, it’s not the sort of thing you can just drop on the table without some warning.
Boy, it’s a nice idea, though, isn’t it?  In many ways, I’m frustrated by the inconsistencies between the Dark Angels codex and the Space Marine codex.  I don’t expect the two books to be the same (because, in that case, we wouldn’t need two books), but the disparity between how things work in one book and how they work in another is just headache inducing.
This isn’t helped by the fact that we’re not going to see an update any time soon.  If GW keeps up their pattern alternating between Imperial and non-Imperial codices, maybe we could see an update sometime in 2011.  (It sounds like Grey Knights are dropping late this year, which covers pretty much all of the Imperial books save Black Templars and Dark Angels.)
It’s a bit of a touchy subject for me: I’ve been rolling with the DA codex and plan to continue to do so (when running my Dark Angels and not my Khornate Daemons)… but I’m quite frustrated by the difference.  Folks who cannot understand that frustration really tick me off.  I gave the Imperial Vox Cast a try until they went on a rant about people who play Dark Angels should quit their bitching, etc.  Uh-uh.  :stop:  :delete:
Some folks have taken it upon themselves to try to reconcile the two books:  
Austin‘s taken a stab, with what’s basically a single page document that suggests using the DA book, but with rules, costs and unit options for certain units taken from the Space Marine codex.  It’s pretty spartan, but not bad.  Worth checking out.
The most recent issue of the AstroMag (#6) has a segment in that summarizes a much more in-depth attempt by Captain Kellen to bring the Dark Angels codex in line with the Space Marine book.  The full treatment can be found here (not really a page there, just a file host).  It’s 60 pages, including fiction and art; the Astromag article summarizes the changes.  What’s really great about this approach is that he tries to justify every choice he makes (in the full document).  There’s a lot to be said to be said for that sort of transparency.
I’m on board with almost all of his changes.  He makes good cases for them and, in many ways they’re a superset of the changes Austin proposes: just basic stuff that says a Cyclone Missile Launcher is a Cyclone Missile Launcher is a Cyclone Missile Launcher, you know?  He goes a bit further, though, and brings over units: he makes a fluff-based claim to Sternguard Veterans and Sgt. Telion Naaman, for example, but cannot do so for other units like Ironclad Dreadnoughts or Land Raider Redeemers.

The only place I disagree with him is where it comes to Librarians.  I’m on board with not bringing over the full list of Space Marine psychic powers… but his arguments for simply using the powers in the Dark Angels book don’t hold up.  “It has been clear that the Dark Angels have different powers than other chapters,” he says… but the basic Dark Angel psychic powers, Hellfire and Force Barrier aren’t really different from The Avenger or Force Dome.  The former is an unreliable version of the Space Marine power and the latter has the same fluff as the Space Marine power, but is mechanically useless.  I’d swap the powers: The Avenger for Hellfire and Force Dome for Force Barrier and leave Mind Worm.  Mind Worm might not be all that useful, but it is unique.

I also don’t like his treatment of Ezekiel’s Psychic Hood.  The table-wide psychic hood is one of the extremely few things the Unforgiven have going for them, but I really feel that if we’re updating equipment and options, we have to take the bad with the good.  That means making the Psychic Hood 24″, you know?  I get why he made the choice, but I disagree.

I’m not likely to crack either of these approaches open and, even if I did, I doubt it would change my list in any substantial way… it’d just synchronize the way equipment behaves.  I honestly don’t see having a better Storm Shield changing the number of Storm Shields I take, you know?

I thought I’d bring it because, between thinking about running Deathwing at ‘Ard Boyz (using the unmodified Dark Angels codex) and Ron’s confession that he’s running fast and loose with the codex, it’s rattling around in my forebrain.

What do y’all think?

(Images are from the Deathwatch RPG site and classic GW DA art.)

Sternguard Veterans – 7/10

Finished the second batch of Sternguard Vets.  Four more down, two (and a half or so) to go!

I’ve told Mark I’d get them to him next Tuesday, so I’ve got just a hair over a week to paint two of these guys and do the last few details on the Apothecary.  Should be doable, but I need to make sure I keep in mind that doing the bases takes longer than I expect it to and that I need to allow for time to paint some gloss varnish over the black base rims before I Dullcote the whole thing.

Battle Brother IV:

Battle Brother V:

Battle Brother VI:

Battle Brother VII:

‘Ard Boyz 2010

I thought I’d be missing out on ‘Ard Boyz this year because we’ll be celebrating the extremely awesome Mrs. Rushputin’s birthday on that Saturday.  I was okay with this, because I’ve never actually played in an ‘Ard Boyz; I ran the first one for Game Parlor and… missed the second one for reasons that escape me (probably work).

As it turns out, however, for whatever reason (I’m sure there’s a good one, possible that I’ve missed) my FNVLGS* The Game Vault will be hosting theirs on that Sunday, rather than that Saturday.  Between this extremely convenient scheduling fluke and the slightest bit of prodding from Casey, I’ve decided to head out to it.

Now, I can’t run my Daemons at 2,500.  It just can’t happen.  My Tau, I’ve yet to figure out how to play in 5th… it could happen but, let me assure you, it won’t.

That leaves my largest army, and one of my favorites: my Dark Angels.  This is particularly convenient, because during the first ‘Ard Boyz, I wrote up a DA list to run at ‘Ard Boyz.  All Deathwing.

Two HQs.  Nine Deathwing Terminator Squads.  47 models.

I have no illusion that this is a particular ‘ard list or anything, but it should be fun.

Deathwing ‘Ard Boyz
2,500 points

Belial – Sword of Silence, Storm Bolter
Grey Knight Grandmaster – Nemesis Force Weapon, Storm Bolter, Psychic Hood, Ungents of Warding

Deathwing Terminators x5 – Cyclone Missile Launcher
Deathwing Terminators x5 – Lightning Claws x1, Thunder Hammer, Heavy Flamer
Deathwing Terminators x5 – Lightning Claws x1, Chainfist, Assault Cannon

Deathwing Terminator Command Squad x5 – Apothecary, Standard, Lightning Claws x3, Thunder Hammer x1, Chainfist,  Heavy Flamer
Deathwing Terminators x5 – Cyclone Missile Launcher
Deathwing Terminators x5 – Cyclone Missile Launcher
Deathwing Terminators x5 – Cyclone Missile Launcher
Deathwing Terminators x5 – Lightning Claws x1, Chainfist, Assault Cannon
Deathwing Terminators x5 – Lightning Claws x1, Chainfist, Assault Cannon

That leaves me with 5 points to throw in an extra chainfist somewhere, I dunno.

They Grey Knight Grandmaster is a new thing for me.  I’ve never run one before.  He’s taking the place of my Terminator Librarian (ironic, because my Terminator Librarian will be taking his place as a model); I think he’ll do everything the Librarian does, only better and for marginally fewer points.  For 20 points more, he’s got more wounds, more attacks (with the +2 strength of the Nemesis Force Weapon).  No, he doesn’t have any psychic powers, but who cares?  I sure as hell never took the Dark Angels Librarian for his psychic powers; he’s there to add punch to the assault Deathwing Command Squad and to run psychic defense: he’s got the same table-wide Psychic Hood the Dark Angels Librarian has… throw the Ungents of Warding in for a few more points, and things are even better.

Ungents of Warding?  That’s freaking how Blessing of the Blood God should work for Khornate Daemons: ignore psychic powers on a 4+.  Period.

Anyway, Belial chills with one of the Cyclone Missile Launcher squads.  The Grandmaster goes with the Command squad.  Given that I’ve been rocking the Daemons for the past however long, I’ll probably just Deep Strike everything in.  Five squads come in on the first turn via Deathwing Assault.

Could I run this with Space Wolves?  Maybe.  Probably.  Who cares?  I’m throwing down for the Lion, not the Wolf.

(Now, I’ve just got to assemble the last 16 terminators or so.)

* Friendly Not-Very-Local Game Store.  The Game Vault’s anywhere between 45 minutes to two hours away from where I live in Manassas, depending on the how generous Northern Virginian traffic feels like being.