Monday, August 30, 2010

Random Update



I've been quiet here for the past weeks or so; mostly because I haven't had much to say.  Instead, I offer you: a monkey riding a goat.

There were a lot of good suggestions re: the number-crunching dump from last week... though I'm not likely to implement any of them.  My spreadsheet-fu isn't up to the additional levels of calculation required.  I might try throwing it together in a program (since that's sort of my thing, professionally), I might not.  It's annoying that I'm a .NET developer by trade, but have a Unix-based webhost for personal use; so sharing anything might be a bit tricky.

I've been painting quite a bit: I banged out six Stormvermin what seems ages ago.  Also, I painted another ten Slaves, got started on an additional set of ten, and assembled another ten Clanrats.  I'm trying to stage this stuff to keep things interesting.

Haven't taken pictures because... my Stormvermin look like my Stormvermin (only based with grey and not grass) and my Slaves look like my Slaves.  Nothing really new to share.

Slightly disappointed by the lack of response to the terrain I built.  I'm quite pleased with it: finally got to pop the cherry on it last Tuesday (and the water features had an enormous impact on the game).  Someone commented that it "looked like tournament terrain."  I'm sure it was meant as a compliment, so I'm happy to take it as such.

I picked up Space Hulk: Death Angel at Games Day.  Late last week, I muddled through a solitaire game, trying to get a feel for how it played.  The game got considerably more brutal every time I got a better grasp on a rule.  No joke: the terminators were obliterating Genestealers as they came on, preventing any of them from having the chance to attack.  As soon as some got through, though, it was a dead terminator a round.  I'm looking forward to playing it with other people, as I expect the game will be even more difficult.  Should be fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Skaven Number Crunching


(This post was originally titled, "The case against 'Horde.'"  That's because, initially, I wasn't convinced that deploying units in a Horde is the way to go.  I haven't really run them, but my gut reaction has been that while, yes, they throw out a few more attacks, they do so at the cost of significantly increased points, as well as reduced ranks (and, therefore, Steadfast).

Also, since I started writing this, I've been talking with Torpored in the comments thread on one of Stahly's posts.  (Are you following Stahly?  You should be.  He paints some beautiful stuff.)

I'm going to go ahead and begin by articulating the arguments against the Horde, then I'll meander into the Mathhammer I've been working with.  Remember: Mathhammer the end-all, be-all, but it's a good foundation on which to build reasonable expectations. (It's also significant to note here, that this is incomplete/bad Mathhammer: it's just straight odds, without accounting for the more nuanced statistical analysis I'm not really built for.))

Less Maneuverable

This is probably the most obvious problem.

Units, as a whole, are more maneuverable in 8th: what with marching made easier and charges greatly sped up and simplified.  Despite this, steering a unit 200mm (or a 250mm) wide unit is hard.  For example, unless you're Mv 6, you cannot wheel 90° in a single turn.   The guy on the far end of the unit has to travel well over 12" (nearly 15.5") to get around.

I also find myself constantly getting in traffic jams, with units getting in other units' ways.  Doubling the size of a block is only going to make that messier.

More Expensive

I'm a Skaven player.  I'm used to running things in big blocks of 25-30; that's because I need the 5-6 ranks for Leadership, for Combat Resolution and for Steadfast.  Running in a horde doesn't change that fact: I still need 5-6 ranks.  Except, in a horde, those ranks are twice as big, which means my unit costs nearly twice as much.

We're talking turning a 151 point Clanrat unit into a 290 point unit.  That's still cheap compared to a lot of armies, but we're losing a banner (and Fortitude) and a unit to scoot around and flank with in exchange for a huge block of rats.

Not As Killy As You Might Think

So, I ran some numbers.  Assumptions made were:
  • I'm talking things vs. Skaven units.  That's what I care about.
  • There would be enough models on both sides to claim full CR for ranks
  • There would be enough models on both sides for the unit to make its maximum number of attacks
  • The horded-up unit would get 7 files involved, rather than all 10, against a unit 5-wide
  • I ignore things like Hatred and the Always Strikes First reroll.  It'd complicate the formulae, making it harder to cut-and-paste.  Plus, these numbers are going to show things being fairly dire for the Skaven anyway.  They don't need the help.
  • Both units have as full a command as possible (so, a champ with +1A and a standard where available)
That last one bears some explanation.  Against poorer troops, the Skaven should win.  Increasing frontage will only help with that.  Against the same troops, of course having more models will make a difference.  The real question is, "Will a Horde formation help my Skaven perform against better enemy troops."  In that case, increasing the number of Skaven files striking will increase the number of non-Skaven files striking back and, because they're better troops, having more of them striking back won't make things any better.

So, 7 Skaven on 5 non-Skaven, stronger troops is about as optimal as we can hope for.  If things look bad here, they can only get worse.

I'm also looking at straight odds.  Statistics are far more nuanced than that, sure, but I'm lazy... and I think the straight odds are sufficient.

Initially, I plugged in Dark Elf Warriors (with Shields) and Chaos Warriors (with Halberds), both units I can expect to see, often.  The former should be marginally better (crap, I just realized I forgot to account for Hatred) with a higher WS.  The latter is inarguably better.  Higher WS, S, T, more attacks and a better save. Then, later, I added some other basic infantry, to see how they compare.

Anyway, the numbers:

This table shows the Combat Resolution (CR) difference, from the Skaven perspective, putting aside any other factors besides Static CR and wounds.  (No, no Charge / Flank / Rear / Height bonus.).  So, when the table says "Clanrats: Normal x Dark Elf Warrors w/ Spears = -0.67," that means that the Clanrats should, by flat averages, lose that combat by about 2/3rds of a point. (Remember the assumptions, though.)


What does this tell us?

For starters: Stay away the hell from Chaos Warriors. For reals. They will wreck your ratty face off.

Spears do make a difference, sorta.  For clanrats, the increased attacks do offset the increased losses resulting from the lack of a Shield armor & ward save, which is surprising to me. You're still losing more rats, but it works out for the better.

For slaves, it's just more dead rats.

Horde also makes a difference.  But that doesn't surprise me.  Of course more models attacking (11, really: 2 additional per rank, plus the extra rank) will make a difference.  But how much of a difference?  And is it worth it?

As far as how much of a difference: it depends.  In general, not very much.  About 1-4 points of CR... 4 CR is kind of a lot.  1... isn't as much.  The tougher the opponent unit is, the smaller the difference is.  The better the Skaven unit is, the larger... but that shouldn't surprise anyone.

How much are you paying for it, though?

The following table assumes that a non-Horde unit is 30 models strong and a Horde unit is 50 models strong, which seems reasonable.


Man, I don't even think "Average" is relevant; not without including every unit in the game... and, possibly, without weighting those units by prevalence.  Clearly, this is evidence that I'm just screwing around with numbers and should walk. away.

I'm not even sure where I stand on my initial thesis.  Horde is expensive, not particularly super-killy, and less maneuverable, but it is somewhat more killy than nothing and ultimately (thanks to combat reforms and Steadfast) somewhat more resilient.  Since I'm not even sure where I'm going with this, I probably should just delete this post and pretend it never happened, but it'd be a shame to throw this work away.

So, anyone have any thoughts?

Cavern Table



I finished this up about a week and a half ago, but I haven't had the chance to take pictures of it until now.  (Actually, I snuck into work a mite early so I could set it up in a conference room and take pictures; the lighting in here, while a bit harsh, is probably the most thorough I'm going to get.)

I was really inspired by the Skaven vs. Dwarfs picture near the back of the new Warhammer rulebook.  They're stabbing it out beneath the mountains of the Old World.  It's clearly inspired how I've been basing my new rats (and slowly re-basing my existing ones).

Also, I've had a problem where I've lacked good, game-able Fantasy terrain... so I caught the bug to do a table's worth of "cave" terrain.

There's a lot of room for improvement here, I think, but it's a solid start.  I can totally play on all of of this, now, and come back and revise/replace/supplement when I'm not so woefully behind on painting Skaven.

The table consists of:

  • 2x Hills
  • 2x Water Features
  • 2x Stalamite "Forests"
  • 1x Ruin
  • 1x Warpstone Boulder
  • 2x Walls
So, 10 terrain pieces, total.

All are painted the same way I paint my bases: airbrushed on Cryx Bane Base, Cryx Bane Highlight  heavy drybrush, Hammerfall Khaki drybrush.  In the case of terrain that's styrofoam, I airbrushed on a charcoal craft paint: styrofoam is thirsty, and I'd rather have to suck up cheapie paint rather than P3 paint that I really should know better than to use on terrain.

For stone features, it's painted the same way we painted the Rapid Fire terrain: Delta Charcoal airbrushed with a heavy drybrush of Delta Hippo Grey and a light drybrush of Delta Rain Grey (or was that Quaker Grey?).

Anyway, in case you haven't noticed; it only takes three colors and very little time to get some really sharp looking terrain painted up.

All of the texture here comes from ballast glued down with watered-down wood glue which is then sprayed down with more watered-down wood glue.  Basically, it shouldn't be going anywhere.

The Actual Terrain

These hills are basically the same type of hill Casey and I (and several others) ground out sweatshop-style for Rapid Fire last year.  They're extremely playable: there's not a lot of slope, which can be a problem.  I'm not thrilled with how they look (because there appears to be an inverse relationship between appearance and practicality when it comes to hills), so I might replace them with something else (maybe even the Citadel Hills) down the line.


I've had a bottle of Water Effects for years, unused (except a little on my Khornate display board), and the Mysterious Terrain rules are something I can't even dream of trying to avoid... so I needed some water features.

 I cut some MDF with a 45° angle.  Then I built up a lip around the edges of the shape with drywall putty.  I reinforced the putty with a wood glue/water mix and glued down the ballast.  Once painted, I applied the water effects.  

The first feature got little putty "islands" which worked out quite well, I think.  The second one got way too much water effects.  Lesson learned: a few, thin layers goes far enough.  Too much and that stuff stays soft. 

These can either be used as "Rivers" (getting a roll on the terrain) or Marshland.



Speaking of Mysterious Terrain: I've got to have "woods," if only because one of my friends runs a Wood Elf army.   I thought about doing a mushroom forest or something, but 1) mushrooms are disgusting and 2) stalamites were way easier.

The bases are shaped based on the base of the Citadel Woods, with areas for stalagmites where trees would go.  The stalagmites are just pink foam cut and textured with a wire cutter and weighted with nails in the bottom.  If I had to do it again (and I probably will), I'd mount the stalagmites to either bases or wooden disks: something to give them more stability and make the overall result a little more professional looking.

Anyway, the plan is to use these as Forests.


I've had parts of an Arcane Ruins set left over from my display board... and I can only have so many forests on the table.  So, I built a ruins feature.  Not the best, I'll admit, but it's playable terrain: the menhir aren't attached to the base, and they've got spots indicating where they need to be returned to.

Sensing a theme here?  I want terrain that looks good, but that I can play with.  Nothing makes me crazier than terrain that looks good but makes actually playing the game on/around it miserable.

We can use this for any number of Arcane Architecture types.


Finally, I needed something to use as a Mystical Monument: a couple of weeks ago, we used a 6"x8" graveyard as an Idol of Gork (or Possibly Mork) (don't ask) and it was a disaster: these things are supposed to be much smaller.  So, I made a very large hunk of Warpstone that can stand-in for any of those (or use the Warpstone rules from one of the battle reports in the rules).

That put me at eight terrain pieces, which isn't quite enough.  So, I ordered a pack of the pre-painted Pegaus Stone Wall (Round) walls: I figure three of them can count as an Obstacle when Placing terrain.  (Or two, if that turns out to be too much.)  They're pre-painted, and showed up Friday, so I haven't had the chance to do much with them.  I dislike the color, though, so I'm almost certain to clean up their mold lines and repaint them to match the other pieces of stone.

What's Next

As I've said, there's a lot of room for improvement here:

I can redo the stalagmites and put them on some bases.

I can replace the hills with something less playable but looks sharper.

I could make the Warpstone look more convincing.

I could do better, spookier looking ruins.

I've got plans to build some towers; that's the real lack here.  I've got thoughts that involve beating up on a Bastion so it looks like it's a Dwarven fastness hewn into the side of some stalagmites (and, even better, a Dwarven fastness hewn into the side of some stalagmites that's been overtaken and befouled by Skaven).  (Maybe one of each.)

All of that will have to wait, though, since I've got a LOT of Skaven to paint.  This'll get me by until I'm not as buried under Clanrats and Skavenslaves.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Games Day 2010 - Loot

I didn't spend too much at this year's Games Day.  That's probably for the best: I know I went out of control at my first one. :)

I did walk around Dan and Mrs. Abnett to pick up Blood Pact before things opened up.  I smiled at him, and still feel a little weird about not saying anything to them but... he was off the clock.  Given that he was going to spend the next eight hours talking to fans, the last thing he needed was another one starting the day off early.  He's too nice a guy to have to deal with me that early in the morning.

The Fantasy Flight games booth's presence was a very good thing.  It gave me the chance to snap up a couple of things I'd been looking forward to picking up: Deathwatch and Death Angel.

I hadn't planned on picking up any resin, but impulse motivated me to ask fellow IFL'r Jeff P. to snag this year's Forgeworld Games Day mini for me while he was going back through the Forgeworld line.

When I was on my way back from the bathroom, they announced they were selling Stompas for 50%.  I don't need a Stompa: I don't play Orks and I don't really play games that involve superheavies... but I was right there and, for $50, I'm sure I can find something to do with a Stompa.  So, I snapped it up (and did so before they started making people WAAAGH for them... that's how I really won).

Finally, we had some blisters left over from the Rapid Fire prize-support, and GW didn't want them back.  So, we all picked out some: I kept some random minis that look like fun to paint (particularly excited about painted up the goblins), as well as a couple of Skaven minis.  Everything else is going to go into a bag and get auctioned off at the next Battle for the Cure auction as a Bag of Games Day Crap.

Games Day 2010 - Rapid Fire


As I mentioned, the Iron Fist League ran Rapid Fire again at Games Day.  We were pretty hard to miss: smack dab in the middle of the convention floor, across from the store.

Setup
Setup on Friday went down quite smoothly: completely done in about three and a half hours.  I attribute this to Doug McN's somewhat psychotic organization of terrain: he showed up with a truck full of terrain, all broken out by theme and table: two 4x4 tables per drawer.

After that, it was off to the Wharf Rat Oliver's Pratt Street Alehouse with the IFL and WNPG guys to wait out traffic before heading home

Turnout
I'm still waiting on the result spreadsheets but I can speak, roughly, about how active it was.  Last year was insanely successful.  This year, we were still successful but less so.

Last year: there were no open gaming tables; while that was a mistake on GW's part, we certainly profited from it... if you wanted to game at last year's Games Day, you had to do it through Rapid Fire.  This year, they had open gaming and, it seemed to me, there were more club tables offering it as well.

Also, we had more tables than we did last year... plus, they put the 40K and Fantasy tables next to each other, which was great since it let us shift tables to the system that needed it most (40K).

So, turnout wasn't as out of control as it was last year but most of our tables were occupied, and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

For 40K, we had about 2/3rd's the players.  Fantasy, surprisingly, was nearly dead.  It was much more active last year; we had barely more than ten players.

Prizes
I'd been concerned that we'd forgotten to talk to Game Vault, who'd very generously given us prize support last year, about prize support this year.

I had no need for concern, though, as Games Workshop hurled stuff at us to give away:

  • Warhammer 40K Battle Points: Killa Kans & Deff Dread
  • Warhammer 40K Longest Winning Streak: Chaos Predator
  • Warhammer Battle Points: Beastman Battalion
  • Warhammer Longest Winning Streak: Warhammer 8th Gamer's Edition (minus the book)
They also gave us, literally, an entire box of blisters to give away.  So, we did: anyone who won three games in a row got a blister.  At one point, we had a guy waiting kind of an unreasonably long time for a game of Fantasy: we gave him a couple of blisters as a thanks-for-your-patience.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Games Day 2010 - Golden Daemon

On the drive home Thursday, I had the unpleasant realization that Games Day was two days off, one of which was going to be spent... prepping for Games Day.  Basically, that I had Thursday night to finish whatever I was going to enter into the Golden Daemon.

That meant the Bonebreaker I'd had hopes for, but had tabled (thanks to uselessness in 8th), wasn't going to happen.

I was also quite certain that this was going to be the last Games Day in Baltimore (and therefore the Golden Daemon I'd be able to enter), so there was no reason not to enter into as many categories as possible.

In the end, I painted up the banner on the Doomwheel and that was it.  Everything else was entered as-is.

My entries (just re-posting pics, here, not taking new ones; hence the lack of Doomwheel banner for now):

Warhammer 40K Single Miniature: Dark Angels Librarian


Mostly wanted to see how well he'd do, as I'd painted him in about half a day before the first Rapid Fire.

Warhammer 40K Squad:  Bloodless Bloodletters


Why not, right?  I knew these guys weren't going anywhere, because they're modeled... imperfectly.  The seam between face and cranium is one of those things you don't know to watch for until it's way too late.  Still, they're the most unique squad I have.

Folks had commented on them: people I didn't know would know about my Daemons mentioned that they knew I'd done my whole army this way.  That was kinda neat.

Warhammer 40K Vehicle: Dark Angels Venerable Dreadnought


Mostly because I was trying to hit as many categories as possible.  If I'd realized he'd be a vehicle and not a monster, I'd have submitted one of my Daemon Princes, as well.  No worries, though.

Warhammer Single Figure: Skaven Warlord


Yeah, this guy.  I'd been seriously considering doing my Warlock Engineer, but he came out the other side of rebasing for the worse, and my wife convinced me that this guy was much cooler.

She was right: he made First Cut and, I was told, was extremely close to actually winning an award.  Hot-damn.

Warhammer Monster: Doomwheel


This guy was a no-brainer, but he needed a banner.  That's what ate my Thursday.  I'll post pics later.

This was, to understate, a Doomwheel-heavy competition.  Mine was one of three.

It was also one of two to make First Cut.  Boo-yeah.

Lord of the Rings Single Miniature: Haradrim Troll


I'd planned on entering this fellow last year... but made the mistake of looking at Dave Taylor's blog the morning of the event.  That's a great way to make yourself feel like an incompetent modeler.  This year, I just went with it.

Misunderstood how things worked in the late afternoon: all of my stuff was still in the cases, and I thought that meant all of it had made the cut (hence the ecstatic FB posts & Tweets).  This was not the case.  Rather, only two models (the Warlord and Doomwheel) made first cut.  Although this means four entries didn't; I'm okay with that... it means First Cut means a lot more.  Being one of ~5 models means a lot more than being one of ~25.

Overall, I'm quite happy with my performance and satisfied with myself.  I can continue being insufferable as a first-place loser in the Golden Daemon for another year!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rapid Fire - Games Day 2010


It bears repeating that the Iron Fist League will be running Rapid Fire for both 40K and Fantasy at Games Day this year.

The format is, at its heart, the same as the Rapid Fire tournament Matt H and I run every year at Game Vault: play small games, fast.  It's a good format for Games Day, because you can play as many games as you feel like... and no more.

Composition rules (which aren't exactly on the GW website, beyond "500/800") are:
Warhammer 40,000
  • Max 500pts from a current, published GW codex
  • Force Org: 0-1 HQ, 1+ Troops, 0-1 Elite, 0-1 Fast, 0-1 Heavy Support
  • Max 250pts on any single unit
  • Max 100pts on any single model
  • No 2+ Saves
  • No Model with more than 2 wounds
Warhammer Fantasy
  • Max 800 pts from a current published GW Army Book
  • All GW FAQ/Errata applicable to the chosen GW Army Book are in use.
  • Army must have a character model (Lord or Hero) acting as its General *
  • Army is subject to the following additional composition limits: (0-25% Lords, 0-25% Heroes, 0-25% Rares, 0-50% Specials, 25%-100% Core, 2+ non-character units)
* Tomb Kings may use a Liche Priest as both the Heirophant and General.
I'll be working the IFL tables... probably the Fantasy ones, but that's not a lock.  Stop by and say hello if you're going to be there.  Or, better yet, bring an army and get a couple of quite games in!

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Approach to Skaven


It's been a little bit since I last posted what I was running Skaven-wise.  This is, without a doubt, just as well... it can't be terribly interesting to folks.  This is doubly true as week-to-week, I just make small changes here and there.

I've shifted my army a little more dramatically than usual, though, and figure it'd be nice to think out-loud about it.  This is a slight update to the list I ran last week.  So, here goes:
Lords
Warlord - General, Sword of Swift Slaying, Enchanted Shield, Foul Pendant, Poisoned Attacks
Grey Seer - Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Protection, Skalm

Heroes
Chieftain - BSB, Armor of Silvered Steel, Shield
Warlock Engineer - Lvl 2, Doomrocket, Warp Energy Condenser

Core
Clanrats x29 - Shields, Full Command, Poisoned Wind Mortar
Slaves x30 - Shields, Champion, Musician
Slaves x29 - Shields, Champion, Musician
Stormvermin x29 - Full Command, Poisoned Wind Mortar

Special
Gutter Runners x5 - Slings, Poisoned Attacks
Rat Ogres x6 - Champion
- Packmasters x4
Rat Ogres x6 - Champion
- Packmasters x4

Rare
Doomwheel
Plagueclaw Catapult
Warp-Lightning Cannon
So, what's going on here? A few things:

For starters, I'm going very character-heavy. All of my dudes are pretty thoroughly kitted out.  I've never really done this.  We'll have to see if this holds up over a couple of games.

  • The Warlord is kitted out to be somewhat hard to kill, with a 3+/5+, and should be relatively dangerous in combat with the ASF + Poisoned Attacks.  Last week, I ran him with the Ogre Blade and a Potion of Toughness: I think (I'm not caffeinated enough for the math) that he'll be more dangerous with ASF (his I7 giving him rerolls against most things) and poison than with S6.  Also, the potion didn't really seem to make a huge difference last week... and I needed points elsewhere.
  • Between Rhellion and Charlie hard-selling the Grey Seer, I've decided to try running him.  He was a champ last week, for sure.  He's got the Dispel Scroll, because he's the only guy with room for it, the 4+ Ward Save (because, at 240 points before items, he needs as good a save as he can get) and, because it seems prudent, Skalm.  This might be a mistake, and it's certainly easy enough to move those 50 points somewhere else.... but it made a difference last week.  If I think of each wound on this sucker as being worth 80 points (1/3rd of his cost), it's steal.
  • The BSB is no longer toting the Stormbanner.  I've moved that to the Stormvermin.  This lets me give him some magic armor to make him more survivable: a 2+/6+ has got to be more useful than a 4+/6+, you know?
  • Down to the one Engineer.  I could easily see myself dropping him to a Lvl 1... but for now I'm sticking with the Lvl 2.  I'm kind of stuck with his options, because they're both too good not to take.
The inclusion of the Seer means I have to drop Something.  240 points don't grow on trees.  So: I dropped a block of Clanrats.  I'm a little skeeved to only be running two blocks of significant troops (I don't count Slaves as significant), but I've got to see how it works out before I decide I hate it.

Gutter Runners are in, they've been champs for me.  Just five dude but a whole lot of poisoned slingin'.

Rat Ogres are still there: I've bumped them up to 4 Packmasters each.  What's that?  Only six Ogres, but 4 Packmasters?  I got this from the interview with Charlie.

The rule says "A pack consists of 1 Packmaster and 2 Rat Ogres.  Any number of Rat Ogres can be added to the unit.  Packmasters can be added, but no more than 1 per every 2 Rat Ogres."  The 1:2 ratio applies to additional Packmasters, not total Packmasters (which is what I'd originally thought).  This is supported by the Skaven FAQ, which says:
Q. Can I take a unit consisting of 2 Rat Ogres and 2 Packmasters
when I pick an army? (p104)

A. Yes.
Anyway, I like this, as it makes it a little harder to eliminate Packmasters from the unit and, more importantly, makes the unit look better.  It looks lop-sided with just three Packmasters: two behind the middle Rat Ogre and then one hanging out to either side.

In terms of rares, I still love my Doomwheel, and the Cannon's performed quite well for me.  The Catapult is back, as I've got 100 extra points and I'm giving it a second chance.  I could take a second cannon, but lack the model, or a third block of slaves, but painting another 30 slaves would probably kill me.  So, second chance.

Anyway, I'm going to get in a few games with this style of list and we'll see how I feel about it in a couple of weeks.  This week sees the real kick-off of the IFL's 8th Edition League, so there should be a lot of gaming.

NoVA Open-ish


As promised, I hit the NoVA Open Friday afternoon to help set up and meet folks.

I got there a bit after 2PM; just as everyone was taking a break and waiting for another truck full of tables. Excellent timing! So, I hung out with Bill for a bit while everyone checked in and had lunch, venting about the state of gaming stores in our area.

Setup chugged along both quickly and smoothly.  Finally got to spy the new IFL Banners, which are swank.  We'll definitely have them on display this weekend at Games Day.

After some drinks and dinner, there was some open gaming, and I managed to get a game in.  My scheduled opponent was a no-show, so I ended up playing Dominick R. (who was from either Alexandria, VA or Orlanda, FL; I was a little confused on that point).  I snapped a picture of him but, as he looks like I just punched his mother in the baby-maker, I imagine he'd rather I didn't post it.

I was running my Khornate Daemons:
HQ
Bloodthirster - Blessings, Instrument, Unholy Might
Bloodthirster - Blessings, Instrument, Unholy Might

Elites
Bloodcrusher x4 - Fury, Icon, Instrument
Bloodcrusher x4 - Fury, Icon, Instrument

Troops
Bloodletters x8 - Fury
Bloodletters x8 - Fury

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

Heavy Support
Daemon Prince - Flight, Unholy Might
Daemon Prince - Flight, Unholy Might
Daemon Prince - Flight, Unholy Might
I didn't get a copy of Dominick's list but the more memorable aspects of it included:
HQ
Company Command Squad - Officer of the Fleet, Medi-pack, Plasmagun x3
- Chimera - Heavy Flamer
Inquisitor w/ Mystics
- Chimera - Heavy Flamer

Troops
Infantry Platoon
- All in Chimerae

Fast Attack
Valkyrie
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

Heavy Support
Leman Russ Battle Tank
Manticore
Manticore
So, fully mechanized + Mystics.  Let's go ahead and call that an extremely poor match up.  Because it was a friendly game, though, he decided to take it a little easy on me and keep everything in reserves.


His dice kind of hated him... and so did my dice.  Before we really resolved the bottom of Turn 5, he conceded the game... but very little had actually been pulled off the table.  He'd dropped one 'Thirster, nearly dropped the second, and whittled down one of my units of 'Crushers to next-to-nothing.  I'd popped the LRBT, a Manticore and a Chimera... and was about to get the second Manticore, another Chimera, the Command Squad and maybe another two Chimerae (I say maybe because it was with Bloodletters, who don't pop armor quite as well as Monstrous Creatures).


It was a good game: I had a really good time, and I think Dominick did, too.

Got a lot of really positive comments about my army from folks walking by, which is something that's always welcome.  If I'd had foresight, I'd have printed off some Warpstone Pile business cards: there were a lot of questions about how I did this or that and a URL to the walkthrough would have helped back up my descriptions.

I also chatted a lot with the 11th Company; both at the table and then later for a brief recording.  They're Good People.

A most excellent time.

Although I had to miss the actual event, of course, I'd planned on stopping by on Sunday to maybe get in some more open gaming and watch the finals.  Too much fun was had at the wedding, though, and all I wanted to do Sunday morning was sit on my butt in front of the TV.  A call into Doug that confirmed that most of the break-down had been taken care of let me do that guilt-free.

Although I've heard very little about the actual tournament, it sounds like it was quite successful.  I'm looking forward to it next year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Painting Progress - 20100811

Although we went out of town for the top half of my week's vacation, I got to spend the bottom half of the week at home, in the man cave, doing hobby stuff.

For starters, I got the ball rolling on some new terrain; I'm working towards building an underground themed board to match the new basing scheme I'm using with my Skaven (see this post for an example).  No real pictures for this, yet, since I've just got one piece of terrain (a cave pool) done up, and I think I might have used too much Water Effects on it. : /

I spent the bulk of my time churning through a box of Clanrats.  Before ducking out, I'd decided (as so many other folks have) to do my Clanrats with the armored bodies and my Skavenslaves with the unarmored bodies.  Across three days, I'd painted up the whole box (well, 19 of them, since I'd painted up one as a test model when the kit first came out).  I'm extremely happy with how they came out... less so with the pictures.  Apologies in advance if I decide I'm disgusted enough with these to re-take and re-post them.

First, the Slaves:


Then, the Clanrats:


Obviously, I still need to paint the banner.  Not sure when I'm going to do that: I've been so stopped up on those things, I decided to push on and do more models instead of fuss around with the banner.

I also did a little re-basing.  I'm going to have to do a lot of that before I'm done.  One of my Plague Mortars got dropped a few weeks ago, so he was a good candidate.  Also, I decided to go ahead and do my Warlock Engineer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Random Topics


Now that I'm back from vacation, I've got a few random things to flush out of my head in hopes of making way for a return to more regular posting:

Although I won't be able to participate in the NoVA Open, I will be helping set up (and will possibly be helping break down).  That also means I'll be kicking around the activities on Friday evening.  I'll have my Khornate Daemons with me, and will have a hunger for carnage.

The Iron Fist League doing Rapid Fire at Games Day again.  I probably should give this it's own, full post, but in case I don't... better to touch on it here or not at all.

It's an adaptation of the format we've used at Game Vault for two years, jiggered to make it easier to build lists without much prep.  500 point games; as many as you feel like playing.  No commitment to spend your day stuck in games... just the opportunity to play some quick games and break up your day.

We've dragged our heels a bit on getting the rules out: the 40K army construction rules are unchanged from last year, but with the new edition of Fantasy, we've hemmed and hawed about construction rules for that quite a bit.  It looks like those have mostly cleared up, though.

It was an immense success last year, and I hope it'll be one again this year.  Make sure to stop by and say hi and maybe get a game or two in!

I'm extremely disappointed with the Cypher's treatment of Hell Dorado at Gen Con.  Malifaux and Hell Dorado fill very much the same sort of niche, and Cypher (in my opinion) really needed to launch Hell Dorado at Gen Con this year to get back on people's radar.

That they didn't have the rulebook ready killed it, I think.  We've known that it's been translated for a very, very long time (the translator is active on RPG.net's OGO board), so there's really no excuse.    That the game wasn't launched at Gen Con means that Malifaux will continue to pick up steam and not really leave much room for Hell Dorado.

Heck, at this point, the best thing Cypher could probably do is wait for Malifaux to run it's course and, in a couple of years, take advantage of all the folks who've grown disillusioned with the overcomplicated mess Malifaux is doomed to evolve into (as Malifaux took advantage of all the folks who'd grown disillusioned with the overcomplicated mess Warmachine had evolved into).

Speaking of Malifaux, while I haven't been doing much with it since 8th came out, I had planned on picking up the new book and gremlin stuff.

Then I took a look at the Ophelia spoilers and it pretty much killed any enthusiasm I've had for the game.    It's just so much crap to learn and memorize.  I don't think I want to get stuck in a cycle of having to learn 18 billion new rules every year (see above comment about an evolution into overcomplicated mess).  Too much to have to keep up with.

I mentioned on my Twitter (something I think I'm going to try to use a bit more) that I might be done with hobby podcasts.

I'd only started listening to them because my friends had started one of their own, and I figured I owed it to them to show them a little support.   That lead into listening to a few other podcasts, specifically The 11th Company and Dice Like Thunder.

DLT cheesed me off when they started talking tough about soft scores in tournaments.  Besides being Wrong, when you're not involved in tournaments, you don't get to speak authoritatively about what works and what doesn't work with tournaments.  You literally don't know what you're talking about.  That, followed by "tactical advice" based on misunderstandings of the rules was enough to convince me my time could be better spent.

The 11th Company's interview segments are, I think, extremely interesting, but the codex countdown stuff doesn't work for me.  And, for some reason, I've been having a really hard time keeping up with it.

The only podcast I've kept up with is, understandably, The Gamer's Lounge... and I turned that sucker off on the drive into work yesterday.  I expect Jay to occasionally wade in the Sea of Unreasonableness, but Bill really went off the deep end over the Throne of Skulls thing.  After the third or fourth, "Really?  Oh, come on," that would never be heard, I decided it was too much annoyance for a Monday morning commute.


It's possible that this is just a bad aspect of the meta-hobby for me to "participate" in.  "Participate" gets the scare quotes, because it (listening to podcasts, at least) is really a passive activity: just sitting there, listening to some dude spout off about whatever.  If I agree with them, I gain nothing... because I already agree with them.  If I disagree, nothing happens.  They just keep talking...  I think I'm too opinionated to for this.

So, some time off.  Maybe I'll come back to them.  Maybe not.

I think that's all the kruft rattling around in my head for now.  I'll have to get a painting progress post up soonish, since I spent a good chunk of my vacation painting Skaven.  I also should do some rumination about Golden Daemon: I'll be putting some things in, but I don't expect any of it to go particularly far this year.

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