Thursday, May 27, 2010

Malifaux Card - Lamination

One of the other Malifaux players in the area, Dan, has had all his stat cards laminated.

This is, in a word, genius.

Malifaux stat cards suck.  You use them to track damage so, like Warmachine cards, they need to live in plastic card sleeves.  Unlike Warmachine cards, though, they're not single cards: they're two cards wide and fold in half... with all of the special rules and things that get referenced on the inside.

After three sessions of Malifaux, the sleeve I'd been keeping Sonnia Criid's card in has torn open... something that's never happened to me with Warmachine (where I use the same card sleeves).

So, lamination is (again) genius.

I stopped by Kinko's last night to laminate my cards.  Not too many Guild cards, but there are kind of a ton of Gremlin cards.  Although I could have maybe laid out my cards more efficiently, I don't think I could have reduced the number of lamination sheets I ultimately needed to use.  The whole thing cost me < $12 and the frustration reduction will totally be worth it.

Chris suggested that you'd get four cards per 8.5"x11" sheet.  Necessity drove me to fit five on one sheet, with the pattern:


I did most of my cards in 11"x17" sheets (8 per sheet in pretty lose formation).  What I couldn't fit in those (5), I did in the single 8.5"x11" sheet.   That means I probably could have 10 cards per 11"x17" sheet (but would have been left with one I couldn't fit).

The 11"x17" sheets were just a hair over $4 each and the 8.5"x11" was $2.50.  So, on a big sheet, you're looking at 50¢ a card if you're lazy and do 8, 40¢ if you fit 10.  On the smaller sheets, it's 63¢ if you only do 4 cards, 50¢ if you do 5.  So, try to do as many as possible at a time and cram them onto the big sheets.

Miniature Transport and Storage

A friend of Chris' asked me about how I go about magnetizing my miniatures for transport.  Rather than just e-mail it to him, I figured I'd dump it here.  You never know who might find this helpful.

A lot of people I know store and transport their minis this way, which is why I started doing it.  At first, I kept my minis in Sabol trays, but they're 1) not inexpensive, 2) inflexible once you've plucked out the foam and, most significantly (for me, at least) 3) they take up waaay too much space.  Now, I store almost all of my minis this way.  There are some drawbacks, however, that I'll get into.

What I'm Talking About


Basically, I take cheap plastic drawers, glue magnetic sheets to the bottom of it.  Then, I glue washers to the bases of my minis.


The magnetic sheet holds the washer pretty well.  Then, instead of carrying around bags of foam trays, I just carry around a small stack of drawers.

What I Use

Drawers

Right now, I've got two kinds of drawers: Office Depot drawers and Sterilite drawers.

I started with the Sterilite drawers.  I like them, because they're wide (something like 14"x14") and they've got lids, which keeps dust off of whatever's inside and provides a little piece of mind.  If things go horribly wrong, the lids will keep everything inside, right?

I moved to the Office Depot drawers for a few reasons.  They're cheaper, for one.  You can buy just a few or a lot, depending on your needs.  More significantly, they're variable height: there are shallow drawers and deep drawers.  This is key.  I had a great deal of difficulty storing anything taller than a regular infantry model in the Sterilite drawers, as they're only a few inches deep.  The shallow Office Depot drawers are significantly deeper, and the deep ones provide enough height for damn near anything.  I can fit all of my non-Bloodthirster, non-Soul Grinder daemon models  (pushing up against 2,000 points' worth) in one shallow and one deep drawer.

What specific brand drawers you use doesn't matter in the slightest.  The key is to make sure you have enough vertical space for your minis.  It's annoying to have to figure out another way to store your dreadnoughts 'cause they're too tall for the drawers all your other Dark Angels live in.

Magnets

I cannot stress this enough: unless you want your minis to be too busy humping each others' legs to visit destruction on your foes, you need to magnetize the drawers and not the minis.  Rare Earth magnets are strong, people.

I buy packs of business card magnets from the office supply store.  One side is adhesive, the other magnetic.  I stick 'em to the bottom of the drawer.  It's that simple.

I will note that Wargame Accessories, the company that cuts the steel rectangular and square bits for gluing to the bottom of your Fantasy minis sells magnetic sheets.  I'm too lazy this morning to figure out which is more cost-effective (buying business card magnets vs. magnetic sheets), but the magnetic pull of the sheets is much stronger than that of the business card magnets.  Harry, another IFL member, has convinced me of this.

Metal Bits

To get the minis to stick to the magnets, you've got to glue metal stuff to the bottom of them.

For square/rectangular bases, you need either square/rectangular bits like the ones Wargame Accessories sell or actual magnetic bases like the ones Gale Force 9 sells.  I (and, as far as I can tell, everyone else locally) use the former.

For round bases, life is easier: washers.  1" washers for 25mm bases, 1.5" washers for 40mm bases.


At first, I used just plain ol' whatever washers from Home Depot but, when I started playing War of the Ring, I moved to fender washers in hopes of actually fitting them in the movement trays.  That didn't follow through, but I still prefer the fender washers: they've got more surface area (which I think makes for a better hold against the magnet), are thinner (so they're less noticable) and are more precise (as in, they're more likely to be the size they say they are).

Here's a comparison: the Haradrim is on a fender washer, the Dark Angel is on a whatever washer.


What's nice is that the washer also provides some weight at the bottom of the base.  That gives plastic minis a better heft and makes everything more stable.

For larger models, with 60mm bases, you're going to have trouble finding a big enough washer.  So, for these, I use Gale Force 9's rubber steel.  I just glue the base to the steel, and cut it to shape.

Issues

This isn't a perfect system, and I really need to call out where it fails.

It does a poor job with vehicles, or really anything that doesn't have a base you can glue a metal thing to.  I always end up keeping and transporting my vehicles in Sabol foam trays.  You could do rare earth magnets business card magnets on the bottom of the vehicles, but I've been pretty unimpressed with the results.  It's just easier to keep them in the foam.

It can't handle top-heavy models.  I transport my Bloodcrushers this way, and it works fine.  They're heavy as hell, but have a low center of gravity.  My Bloodthirsters... not so much.  Those enormous metal wings.  Ugh. This wouldn't work for them, so I have to store and transport them in foam, too.

I'm also not sure that I'd transport Warjacks or Warbeasts this way.  Privateer Press infantry, for sure, but not sure if I'd feel safe doing it with the big hunks of metal with the weedy legs.

If something goes wrong, this doesn't do much for you.  It's cheaper, and takes up less space, yes, but it doesn't protect your models as well as foam if you get in a car accident or fall down the stairs.  Foam will only do so much, but this does less.

I also have to provide the disclaimer that I'm currently eyeballing Battlefoam.  This system does just fine for me, but it completely fails my Soul Grinders.  I can't store them in drawers, so I keep them in foam.  They're so large, though, that they don't fit well in the foam at all.  I've had a number of accidents with them, and I'm disinclined to glue them back together ever again, so it's my hope Battlefoam will fix that.  And, if I'm putting some of my daemons in a Battlefoam case, I might as well put all of them in.  I won't be moving all of my minis to foam, though, that's for sure.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blogger and Picasa


Last week, I was chatting with Bill and Jay (those guys) about stuff, and the issues Bill had a few months back with getting images to show up in the From the Warp Blogrolls came up.  (I'd post a link to it, but damned if I can find it.  Hook a brother up, Bill?)  From that conversation, I learned that not everyone knows how uploading images to Blogger works.  I thought I'd explain it.

What's Going On

When you upload an image into Blogger (using the Insert Image button at the top of the post window), "Blogger" isn't actually hosting the image: it's Picasa Web Albums.  Blogger automagically creates an album for each Blogger blog you create in your Picasa Web Album account and, when you upload an image through Blogger, it stores your image in that web album.


You can see here that I've got three albums in Picasa: one for uploaded Blogger Pictures (these are the user icons that show up in blogger, in the About me section of you blog, the Followers tool and any Blogger comments), one for pictures uploaded to this blog (Warpstone Pile), and one for the test template I created to try out the new look I went to back in March).  Of those three, only one (the Warpstone Pile one) is actually public.

What This Means

Depending on what you want to do, it could mean nothing.  Upload your pictures through Blogger, blog away, live your life.  It doesn't matter where the images are hosted, so long as they're hosted, right?

Well, at some level, it's probably useful to know that there's a cap on how much you can post to Picasa without having to upgrade your account (an undertaking that involves money).  This isn't any different than any other image hosting service, though, and the likelihood of hitting that cap is extremely low.


I've been uploading kind of a lot of large pictures for over a year, now, and I'm only at ~50MB out of 1GB.  But, hey, knowledge is power.

Speaking of power, if you know that you can find your images in Picasa, then you can get to them and use them.

If you're into Google Buzz (I'm not exactly; my posts here spam my friends, but I don't actively do much with it), you can configure your Picasa account to post activity to Buzz.  That means your friends will automatically get notified and see pictures you take and post of your minis.

More significantly, though, you can label your images.  I get a lot of mileage out of this.  Although I generally don't bother labeling throwaway images (like the ones in this post), I label all of my mini pictures: system, army, status ("WIP" or "Final"), content.  So, a photo of some Bloodletters gets labeled: "'Warhammer 40K' 'Khornate Daemons' Bloodletter Final".


This in and of itself isn't incredibly useful... until you start leveraging those labels.  Take a moment to click on the "Khornate Daemons" link on the right side of the page.  (Or the link I just inserted.)  The link is to a search  against that web album.  I don't have to manually maintain sorted albums (as I did with my old, self-hosted, gallery service): anything with the labels "Final" and "Khornate Daemons" will show up in those results.

If you're technically inclined, working out how to build these URLs is pretty obvious.  If you're not... that's okay; I'm here to help.

The URL of the Khornate Daemon link is:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/view?uname=rushputin&tags=Final+%22Khornate%20Daemons%22#

The %22 thing might throw you off: those are really HTML encoded stand-ins for double quotes.  They're necessary because I an ass and like to put spaces in my labels; the quotes tell Picasa that "Khornate Daemons" is one label and not two labels ("Khornate" and "Daemons").  I could just as easily have called the Label Khornate_Daemons, which would make the URL a more legible:

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/view?uname=rushputin&tags=Final+Khornate_Daemons#

If I wanted to just show Khornate_Daemon images, but didn't care about whether or not they were of finished models("Final"), I could omit the Final part, which would make the URL:

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/view?uname=rushputin&tags=Khornate_Daemons#

So, to build your own URL, just replace "rushputin" with your blogger/Picasa username and replace the tags I'm using ("Khornate_Daemons" in the above example) with whatever tags you want to filter down on, delimited by plus signs ("+").

I'm using this with a couple of my army links (Skaven, Daemons, Harad), but not all of them: at some point, I'll move a bunch of images from where I'd been hosting them before to Picasa, label them, and then I'll swap the old links for new filter URLs.

I've met with limited success interacting with the Blogger-generated web albums via the downloadable Picasa client.  It seems to generate a second copy of the album for the client to interact with, rather than the blogger web album, which isn't particularly helpful.  I haven't worked very hard with it, however, so it's entirely likely there's something I've missed.

I really hope this helps someone!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Accomplishments

I got to do something on Saturday I haven't been able to do in kind of a while: nothing.  My wife and I puttered around all day, sleeping in and catching up on the new Doctor Who.  That meant I had a lot of time to sit at my desk and get some things done.

I haven't really accomplished much of anything, hobby-wise, since I wrapped up the Sternguard, so this was nice.

First off, I finished painting the mini for my Dark Heresy character: Caleb Plex, Scum.


The base is a Micro Art Studio Temple base, and it's pretty swank.

I'm unhappy with the stubble effect, though.  I've done it before, successfully, but here it comes across more like a beard than stubble.  I probably needed to mix a bit of brown in there.

Additionally, I managed to assemble a second quartet of Bloodcrushers.


Nothing fancy, here.  Pretty much just the same thing I had before.  The other unpainted guys are Forgeworld Renegade Psykers, which I'm going to use as objective markers.  I need to paint them, as well.

Finally, because I had to wait on greenstuff to cure and because it was on my mind, I started painting a few Malifaux minis.  Specifically, three Witchling Stalkers.


They're actually pretty close to being done: just need to do the bases, the swords and the boots.  I experimented with them a bit, and I'll probably get into a little more detail  about how when they're done.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Daemon Models Spotted!

Taken from this article on the GW website (by way of Cultist of Sooty on RPG.net).


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tuesday Gaming



I got to play a pair of games on Tuesday:

I started out the afternoon running through a game of Malifaux with Chris.

By the end of the game, most everything had come back to me, which was nice.  At some point, I might actually feel comfortable with the game.  I screwed up in a number of ways, though: paying for my Master (so I played 4 Soulstones down) and only drawing five cards (six is a weird number!).

I really appreciate that Chris keeps putting Rasputina up against my Sonia Criid: it's a really bad matchup for him / good matchup for me.  I'm sure he's doing it because he likes running Rasputina, but I have a hard time believing he's not, in some way, intentionally throwing me some easy (well, easier) games.

Then, I got in a game of 40K with Jay.

Jay ran his Howling Griffons (Space Marines w/ White Scars build), I ran my Khornate Daemons.

As usual, my army has kind of a hard time dealing with other armies that pull the same "We'll all come in turn one" or "We'll all come in from reserves" trick that they have to.  So much of the army's "mobility" comes from that initial Deep Strike.  Also, I blew my "Daemonic Assault" roll (which is usual for me).

Jay kept everything off the table, and rolled a Land Raider (with Assault Termies and a Librarian0 and a Rhino (with a generic Tactical Squad) on the table turn one.  Speeders with Heavy Flamers came in from Reserve and everything else Outflanked.


The game was... I won't say it was close, but I definitely had him on the ropes.  If I'd been able to knock out a Speeder, it'd have gone differently, I think... but I was unable to hit once with something like 10 charging Bloodletters.  Those Heavy Flamers really fried my Troops.


In the end, he won with three objectives to my none; if we'd had more time to see if we could get in more rounds (we stopped at Round 5 since the store was closing), I probably could have done something about a couple of his Troops... but probably not enough to turn it into a win.

I did take a couple of pictures, since I had my new camera with me and everything was painted.  Here are the rest of them:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

'Ard Boyz 2010 - Preliminaries

So... I'd typed up a fairly lengthy post about 'Ard Boyz at Game Vault on Sunday and, in a first, Blogger ate it.

I am... displeased.

Because I don't have the energy to rewrite everything, I'll summarize.  Fortunately, I typed up the army lists in notepad so I can salvage them, at least.
  • Got stomped, hard: Minor Loss, Minor Victory, Massacred.
  • Had a great time: three good games against three great opponents, despite the stomping.
  • Didn't play any MEQs, which is a shame, as I'd have done better against them.
  • Did poorly against IG, Chaos Daemons.
  • Game Vault was, as always, great.
  • The guy running the tournament did a lousy job.
My list:
Deathwing 'Ard Boyz
2,500 points

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

Elites
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

Troops
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
Game 1:
Got a Minor Loss against Hunter's Imperial Guard; four models left on the table, contesting three objectives.
HQ
Company Command Squad x5 - Straken, Meltagun x3, Medic
- Chimera
Company Command Squad x5 - Plasmagun x3, Bolt Pistol x1, Medic
- Chimera

Elite
Marbo
Stormtroopers x7 - Meltagun x2

Troops
Veterans x10 - Grenade Launchers x3, Autocannon x1
- Chimera
Veterans x10 - Meltagun x3
- Chimera
Veterans x10 - Plasmagun x1, Flamer x1, Grenade Launcher x1
- Chimera
Veterans x10 - Flamer x1

Fast Attack
Hellhounds x2
Hellhounds x2 - Multimelta x1
Vendetta

Heavy Support
Leman Russ Demolisher- Lascannon, Plasma Cannon Sponsons
Leman Russ Demolisher- Lascannon, Plasma Cannon Sponsons
Leman Russ Demolisher- Lascannon, Multimelta Sponsons
Game 2:
I pulled out a Minor Victory against Beau's Imperial Guard. It'd have been a Major Victory had my ninth squad come in before we ran out of time.
HQ
Company Command Squad x5 - Straken, Medic, Regimental Standard, Voxcaster
- Chimera
Commissar Yarrick

Elite
Stormtroopers x10 - Flamer x1, Grenade Launcher x1, Plasma Pistol
Stormtroopers x10 - Flamer x1, Grenade Launcher x1, Plasma Pistol

Troops
Infantry Platoon
- Command Squad x10 - Meltagun x3, Voxcaster
- Infantry Squad x10 - Flamer x1, Grenade Launcher x1, Plasma Pistol
- Infantry Squad x10 - Flamer x1, Grenade Launcher x1, Plasma Pistol
- Infantry Squad x10 - Commissar, Power Weapon, Voxcaster
- Infantry Squad x10 - Commissar, Power Weapon
- Infantry Squad x10 - Commissar, Power Weapon
- Infantry Squad x10 - Commissar, Power Weapon
- Special Weapons Squad x10 - Grenade Launcher x1, Plasmagun x2
Veteran Squad x10 - Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun x3, Voxcaster
- Chimera
Veteran Squad x10 - Meltagun x3, Plasma Pistol, Voxcaster
- Chimera
Veteran Squad x10 - Flamer x3, Grenade Launcher x2, Plasma Pistol, Voxcaster
- Chimera

Fast Attack
Hellhound x1

Heavy Support
Leman Russ Battle Tank - Lascannon
Leman Russ Battle Tank - Heavy Bolter Sponsons
Leman Russ Demolisher - Lascannon, Multi-melta Sponsons
Game 3:
Dan's Chaos Daemons Massacred me.
HQ
Fateweaver
Bloodthirster - Blessings, Death Strike, Unholy Might

Elites
Bloodcrushers x4 - Fury, Icon, Musician
Bloodcrushers x4 - Fury, Icon, Musician
Flamers x5 - Bolt

Troops
Bloodletters x20 - Icon, Musician
Horrors x5 - Bolt, Changeling
Horrors x5 - Bolt
Horrors x5 - Bolt

Heavy Support
Daemon Prince - Mark of Tzeentch, Bolt, Daemonic Gaze, Unholy Might
Daemon Prince - Mark of Tzeentch, Bolt, Daemonic Gaze, Unholy Might
Daemon Prince - Mark of Slaanesh, Flight, Iron Hide, Unholy Might, Pavane

Friday, May 14, 2010

Daemon Lists


Rattling around in between thinking about Tau Empire (Chris K. knocked me upside the head with a huge info dump about them that I need to process before I post about Tau again) has been some thinking about my Daemons.

Tournament List

I'm going to NoVA Open (ticket #7) and I'm also considering going to Battle for Blob's Park, both will 2,000 point events.

I've got a 2,000 point list: I put it together for the Battle for the Cure about two months ago.  That event had some non-standard composition rules (that discouraged the inclusion of vehicles).  Plus, I've slowly accrued enough Bloodcrushers to field a second quartet of them.  So, I've been thinking about how to adjust my 2,000 point list for something somewhat more competitive.  This is what I'm eyeballing now.
Maximum Khornage
2,000 points

HQ
Bloodthirster - Unholy Might
Bloodthirster - Unholy Might

Elites
Bloodcrushers x4 - Fury, Icon, Instrument
Bloodcrushers x4 - Fury, Icon, Instrument

Troops
Bloodletters x8 - Fury, Icon
Bloodletters x8 - Fury

Fast Attack
Flesh Hounds x8 - Fury
Flesh Hounds x8 - Fury

Heavy Support
Daemon Prince - Flight, Iron Hide
Soul Grinder - Phlegm
Soul Grinder - Phlegm
This looks a lot like the list I ran at BftC, but with 16 Bloodletters (instead of 24), Soul Grinders instead of Daemon Princes, and a Bloodcrushers doubled down.  No Karanak, but I'm okay with that.

I could easily drop the Daemon Prince.  A third Soul Grinder in its place would be nasty, but I only have the two and don't feel like building a third.  Plus, I like that I have this Khorny, factor of two thing going (things come in 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16); 1 Daemon Prince and 2 'Grinders fits that pattern better than 3 'Grinders.

I could do a third squad of Bloodletters, but they're really the weakest unit in my list.  Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the list.  What do folks think?

This means that I need to assemble, convert and paint four Bloodcrushers between now and August (for the NoVA Open) or June 5 (for the Blob's Park).  Totally feasible.

Kill Team

I've also been thinking about what I'd put on the table for Kill Team.  I've been excited about this variant since learning about it, but I've yet to actually be able to play it.  A big part of that is because I haven't really considered what I'd put on the table for it.  So, two first cuts of what I'd do.
Khorne Team

Bloodcrushers x3 - Fleet x1, Feel No Pain x1, Hit and Run x1
Bloodletters x5
Khorne Team

Bloodcrushers x1 - Fleet x1
Bloodletters x5 - Feel No Pain x1, Hit and Run x1
Flesh Hounds x5
The first list loads up on ugly, violent Bloodcrushers.  The second only takes the one (as a baby HQ) and goes for a higher model count.  In both cases, I take USRs that compensate for Khorne's weaknesses: a lack of mobility (Fleet, Hit and Run) and a lack of staying power (Feel No Pain).  Most USRs don't do much for Khornate Daemons: they already have it (Furious Charge, Fearless, Eternal Warrior) or don't really benefit from it (Stubborn, Counterattack).

I'm sure these could be tighter, but I'm okay with that.  At least I know what I'd pull out of the case at this point.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Better, Faster, Cheaper

I'm listening to Jay talking to the 11th Company folks.

You know what makes me laugh?  Space Marine players complaining about how Blood Angels do everything they can do, only better and/or cheaper.

I mean, I'm just sayin'.

(I think I need to add a tag called "Storm Shield Envy." :) )

Wednesday, May 12, 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:
HQ
Vulkan
Librarian - Terminator Armor, Storm Shield, Avenger, Null Zone

Elites
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

Troops
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.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

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:


Apothecary:

The whole group:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

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.

EDIT:

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.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

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.
HQ
Shas'el - Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, HW Multi-tracker, Targeting Array

Elites
Crisis Team x2 - Missile Pod x2, Flamer x2

Troops
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.
HQ
Shas'el - Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, HW Multi-tracker, Targeting Array
Shas'el - Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, HW Multi-tracker, Targeting Array

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

Troops
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
Barracuda
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.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

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.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

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:

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