Saturday, January 30, 2010

To hell with the Metagame, let's waste some points!

I'm calling in a snow day, almost 5" on the ground & the potential for the roads to get icy, so I'm skipping the game shop tonight. Anyways I've been thinking of the whole 40k metagame concept. Metagaming is heard quite often in association with 40k, so much so that if you look up the term on wikipedia 4ok is referenced. I see it mentioned all the time on the BoLS, but in the Austin gaming scene, competitive as it appears to be, I think that that's quite necessary. Indeed for a tournament or playing in a very competitive group, metagaming is part & parcel of 40k. To play in just a standard pick up game, where fun supersedes the 'must win' scenario? No, I don't think it is.

There are a LOT of units in 40k that almost never see the table, purely because they fail in the metagame. Units that aren't the best use of points, rendered obsolete by newer rules, they're too situational, or they suffer from simple mediocrity. Prime example: Chaos Spawn. No one around here uses them, because they suck. That's a real shame as the new models are really good in my opinion. In general, most every non-tournament list I build (damned near all of them) has about 100-150 points devoted to unit(s) that aren't very good on the table top, but I like the models and the concept behind them. Sure I may be all but handing my opponent a few easy kill points in an annihilation scenario. But who cares, its a game. This is supposed to be just for fun. Here are some of my favorites:

The Inquisition. Virtually every Imperial list I build has an elite choice inquisitor of some sort and his little band of idiots in it. I have so many that I could probably go 3 months, @ 1 game a week before I'll run out of inquisitors. I like their fluff, their novels, but no one else ever uses them. Their too situational. Demon armies make few appearances locally, although the new Zoanthrope rules may give inquisitors with psycannons a new lease on life as proxied Ordo Xenos. Here's an example: Inquisitor Ben Franklin & his retinue (the resemblance is striking, no?) Franklin was historically famous as a drinker & skirt chaser. So his retinue has 2 'acolytes' with las pistols & 'man catchers' (shield your eyes kids), and an apothecary with a keg of the Emperor's finest brew!

Ben Franklin

The Imperial Forestry Service, DON'T FEED THE XENOS! VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT! Lol, if ever I had a 'signature' unit, this would be it. The forestry service is merely a guise of the inquisition, deployed to frontier or agri-worlds undercover to smoke out heretics where ever they may hide. 'Ranger Smith' with his bolter & his squad of 'Foresters' (Storm Troopers) are always quite popular when they hit the table with their rhino! (these are old warzone models)

Forestry Service


Imperial Atlas armored recovery vehicle. If my Guardsmen aren't accompanied by an Inquisitor, odds are that this tank is why. Forgeworld's update PDF gave this quite a buff here recently. Now with the same armor as a standard Russ, and the ability to repair damaged vehicles in B2B (I've not managed to do that yet, but it was an excuse to buy the repairmen who's sole purpose is to remind me to make the repair roll) In general though, I use it purely because I like the model. Though the heavy bolter & stubber do manage to kill stuff periodically.


Sabre defense platform. My renegade IG army never fights without it! The Sabre can have a twin-autocannon, heavy bolter, or lascannon, but none look as cool or are as an ineffective use of a hvy. slot as a quad heavy stubber! Using the artillery rules, its rather fragile too. Though generally low on the list of priorities, I often hear 'you really like that dumb thing, so I'll shoot it first!' I have Rogue inquisitors to back up my renegades as well, with the infamous 'Khorne Dog' being my favorite!

Sabre Defense Platform

So anyways, hopefully this will inspire someone to shelve the metagame for a small percentage of your list, and just put something on the table for reasons other than just pure combat effectiveness.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My first encounter vs. the Tyranids...

What I've designated as being 'Hive fleet Hillbillie' descended upon my beleaguered world of Podunk (yes, this IS Tennessee) and much blood was shed. 1500 pts., Imperial Guard vs. Nids, annihilation, Dawn of war, Nids had 1st turn.

Our intent was to record a proper battle report, but having never actually tried that before, the idea went out the window as soon as the dice started rolling, and for that I do apologize. I think it might be easier to observe a game & take notes for a battle report than to actually play in it myself. I took a bunch of photos, but the caffeine was flowing to the extent that the 'anti-hand shaking' feature on my digital camera was overwhelmed and as a result epically failed.

Turns 1-5 were more or less just point blank shooting & the grizzly deaths of guardsmen. The start of turn two saw close to 100 minis (if not more) on the table, by the end of turn 5 there were close to a dozen, if that. The only notable actions being my command squad wiping out the Warriors in HTH with only light casualties, the cyclops driving into a brood of gaunts & killing 5 of them (the cyclops is a FW mini that's basically a remote controlled bomb & is based on a weapon used by the Germans in WWII, in 40k it tends to get blown up well short of any targets) & the Tyrant staggering out of close combat with only a single wound left (which he promptly regained in the final turn with a psychic power of some sort, rather upsetting that bit was).

The game ended in a draw. Much fun was had, and any game in which both sides suffer approximately 90% casualties is a good one in my book! Over all there wasn't much in his Nid list that jumped out @ me in comparison to the last codex (it was his 1st game with them, so more of an experiment than anything). About the only one being that psychic power that allowed the tyrant to regenerate all of its wounds back, like Tyrant's aren't hard enough to kill in the first place!

Again , my apologies for my EPIC FAIL in trying to describe the battle, such is the work of amateurs I suppose. Below are the only two salvageable photos of the evening. The first being my game table prior to deployment (and my caffeine intake as well), and the second the Executioner & conscript platoon, watching the battle from a distance, and completely unaware that their doom lurks behind them.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Basilisk Dilemma...



So, I'm finding that in the new guard codex, the basilisk kinda falls short (yes, pun intended). Str9 AP3, no cover saves, hits side armor on vehicles, stupid long range, it all sounds great. Except that there's no longer any direct fire, and a 3 foot minimum range has been imposed to boot. In the old dex, I never paid the extra points for indirect fire, using it as a tank destroyer in the flavor of many WWII armored vehicles such as the German Elefant/Nashorn/Marder tank destroyers.

It seems like the Basilisk is more or less an Apocalypse only tank now. Where the enormous table top (or 'war on the floor' as I sometimes hear it called) provides it with a modicum of safety. We don't play Apoc. locally though, nor do I have much interest in it either. Deploying the Basilisk in a corner, giving it the furthest distance from it targets has always been my standard operating procedure. However outflanking units are a dime a dozen these days, making a corner deployment far more risky. Space Wolf scouts have always been a problem for tanks on the back table edge, luckily for me though most of our local SW players don't use scouts.

The simple solution would just be to sell it, wait for the new kit, and build it as a different variant. Except that with the FW gun shield, its one of my favorite tanks. So far the only tactic that I've come up with that has had any sort of success, is to deploy a 'bodyguard unit' behind/along side of it. Any outflanking unit that deploys next to the Bassie & pops it knows that it's going to be pounced on next turn by the bodyguards. An infantry or veteran squad with a heavy weapon (including some snipers for the vets, they're not the most potent, but they do have good range so their not totally useless all game). An enginseer with 3 servitors means the out flanking unit will have a power weapon & 4 servo arms charging into them next turn. In the event that they attack/charge the bodyguard unit, the Bassie can try & put a little distance between it & the out flankers (hopefully clearing the line of sight for a Russ that's hopefully situated near by). However given its low armor, it'll be dangerously exposed no matter which way it turns from the new threat.


The drawback of the bodyguards is that you'll be tying up points to defend a vulnerable unit, and knowing it'll in most cases be only a marginal success. Also, there's the possibility of the die roll bringing the out flankers in on the other side of the table, potentially turning the bodyguard unit into a waste of points.
Seems like a lose/lose situation.

Do any of you out there have any suggestions that work better?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Orks! (Trukk #3 started)

Well, while the Imperial Guard was the first army I played, and will always be my favorite (I no longer sell old IG armies as I always end up with more, currently I have 2), I have a lot more than just the Guard. Space Marines, Tau, a horde of Inquisitors & retinues (invariably I'll spend 100ish points in a list on them just for the hell of it) and I also a have a lot of Orks. I like their fluff, flavor/themes, the models & the goofy names that they come up with (I'm not especially fond of their codex, but I just have to suck it up & deal with it).

Da Long Wayz Dezert Groop is actually the name of my Ork army, named after the famed WWII British recon/special forces unit known as the Long Range Desert Group (and somewhere a WWII history buff is groaning in disgust). Its even a kinda/sorta fluffy name as the Orks use trukks to get around, much like the LRDG, however the resemblance more or less ends there. The LRDG never had any tanks, however my DLWDG has a battle wagon built out of WWII British Matilda.

I got a trukk this past Christmas, my third one. Love the kit, although its a paint as you build model. There are simply too many recessed areas to do otherwise. That does have the consequence of making it a bit more fragile as I'm gluing painted surfaces rather than bare plastic.

Here it is so far (I ran out of glue today), this will be my first red trukk. I've taken a lot of flak for not having any red ones.



Here are my other two, the yellow one (a.k.a. 'Mad Max's Short Bus') was the first that I built & the green one following shortly thereafter. All of my armies (their vehicles especially) are dirty. Looks like they've been out on campaign I think, and Orks falling into the 'unwashed masses' category, they almost assuredly don't wash their vehicles either.



As I'm posting photos of some of my Ork vehicles, I couldn't resist showing off some photos of my favorite looted wagon! I have 3 (one is still under construction) all are blue, but otherwise quite different. This one is the pride of my army, and as such, its usually the first thing to get shot. Typical.




Saturday, January 23, 2010

Imperial Guard Conscripts & Bastion

Here are a few of the Pig Iron minis that I'll be using for my Commissar Lord & Conscript platoon. Commissar's the only one done (besides the base). I've started several others in the platoon, choosing the assembly line style, but it'll take a while. I rarely stick with one project, instead bouncing from one to another on an almost continual basis. Nothing gets painted quickly that way, but it keeps me from getting bored.



I'm pretty pleased with the Bastion model! It went together well, although the way that the heavy bolter mount clips in could have been designed a little better I think. Locally, everyone that has one of these built has at least one heavy bolter that is glued & completely static (I'm no exception). That said, its a very nice kit.

The roof mount options are where the bastion shines though.

I assembled the vox array as you can see, however its not glued in to its turret ring. I've also a separate painted base for the vox, to use it as a stand alone piece. It'll work nicely as an HQ objective to defend. I have the lascannon assembled & on a 60mm base with 2 Vraks Renegades for use as a lascannon team (with two more purchased from ebay to make a whole squad, but that's a post for another day). The bastion lascannon comes with a box type of mount, and the turret ring for the lascannon/vox/etc., is the same size as it is on a SM razorback (and I just happened to have a spare razorback turret sprue in the bitz box! So with literally no effort I was able to make an alternative to the Forgeworld Space Marine Tarantula gun mount.



Friday, January 22, 2010

Actually I do have something vaguely meaningful to post. The following is my background 'fluff' for an attached unit to my 40k Imperial Guard army, the 110th Ryza Menial Co. The 144th Podunk is my conscript platoon & their commanding officer, Commissar Naxos (Commissar Lord). I'm using the Pig Iron miniatures 'Kolony' line. The Commissar is one of their sniper models, converted only slightly by adding the head & shoulder guards from the new Hellhound tank commander, and the addition of a sheathed sword (from a Mordheim sprue as I recall). He'll be armed with a hellgun (instead of a boltgun), power sword and carapace armor. The rest of the Podunks (currently numbering 20) just have lasguns. I've yet to purchase the technicals for their vehicular support, but am thinking on using the 'Provider transports' from Old Crow Models.

Well, some work has FINALLY made it to my desk (YAY!) so I'll get to it now.

The 144th Podunk

Mining outpost designation # 0014.4 was established in final year of M39. Situated along the coreward edge of the Adrantis Nebula (ref.: Calixis Sector, Segmentum Obscurus), 0014.4 was intended to further the exploitation the mineral resources discovered in the region. Mechanicus assessment teams determined that planet designated 0014’s fourth moon was the most viable candidate and the aforementioned outpost was created. A preliminary dispatch of approximately 10,000 workers were imported, and mineral prospecting was initiated.

Orbiting its parent planet designated # 0014 (a barren and lifeless world containing no valuable elements or properties), # 0014.4 itself is a rather inhospitable moon. Having a barely breathable atmosphere, an expansive habitation dome was erected encapsulating the most profitable mine excavation site, with several smaller supporting habitat domes surrounding the primary*. Local fauna & flora are little more than a collection of molds, mosses, fungi, and varying species of rodent. All of which are farmed for food purposes. Several small deposits of Xygnite were discovered. Which, while enough to sustain the colony, were not in enough abundance to facilitate further expansion. Desolate and isolated, 0014.4 was destined to never be anything more than an Imperial backwater. It is not recorded when or by whom exactly, nor is the name officially sanctioned by the Administratum, but 0014.4 is instead recognized throughout the region by the name of ‘Podunk”.

In early M40 the governor of Podunk, paranoid of a civil uprising due to poor living conditions, decreed that a colony defense force should be established and formally requested the deployment of several Imperial Guard regiments from the Munitorum. Lacking any real strategic value, the Munitorum refused instead sending a single commissar to establish a defense force that would be the equivalent of an Imperial Guard regiment. Commissar Naxos arrived to no fanfare (the Governor’s disappointment was palpable), was assigned meager quarters and a sparse budget to do with as he saw fit. Commandeering a small and generally unproductive support dome, Commissar Naxos redesignated it the command center for the 144th Podunk infantry regiment. A prefabricated Imperial bastion was erected to function as a military command center, trenches dug by the first batch new recruits (conscripted from the least productive and disciplined of the mines’ employees), and a training regimen initiated. In the first few years of its existence, the 144th Podunk appeared to be on its way towards fruition.

Despite its modest mineral reserves, Podunk (as its name implies) is too small and isolated of a colony to be a target of any particular value. Not even registering with Xenos raiders and/or pirates, the moon’s inhospitable atmosphere proving to be far more of a deterrent than the 144th itself. Bored, with little to do much less defend, Naxos soon realized that the Guard (seeing himself a casualty of internal politics within the Commissariat) had shelved him. Instead of building a regiment of capable troops, he pursued his own base desires. Reoutfitting the bastion as his personal, fortified palace, with subterranean apartments, staff, delicacies on which to dine, imported concubines, and the finest of personal luxuries. He adorns himself with the finest arms and armor that he uses to impress the local aristocracy, as well as offer an implied threat to any who feels he is misappropriating funds for personal gain. The 144th however, has languished. Substandard lasguns, and kit of cheap manufacture, no armored vehicles or heavy weaponry of any sort, minimal training, and neither junior, nor noncommissioned officers fit to lead them. The 144th has degenerated from what was to be a regiment, to little more than a glorified platoon supported by a few technicals (old, second hand cargo trucks used as improvised fighting vehicles), and ‘trained’ in little more than mob tactics. Once a formidable warrior who lead by example. Naxos is now little more than a petty tyrant, executing those whom he perceives to have failed him, and commanding more or less with a ‘point and shoot’ mentality. Any shred of combat prowess that he may have left within him will in all likelihood be a frantic display, intended to impress his superiors so that he may cling to his scraps of power and authority, rather than be executed for negligence.

*Interestingly, given the complete lack of concern for their environment, the air quality within the domes is now just as unbreathable inside as it is outside, just for different reasons. The structures within the domes are built with over pressure filtration systems and scrubbers (the colony’s number one imported product) and a both complex and tiring system of airlocks which are required to enter and exit all structures within the domes. Anyone outside of a structure (both within the domes as well as beyond them) is thus required to wear a filtration mask. The air qualities of the surrounding support domes vary, but all require both structural and personal air filtration systems.


And there's a whole lotta nothin' else on the page...

This blog is obviously brand new, I've only had it for about an hour now (slow day @ work). And seeing as how I'm @ work, I don't have any photos of my minis available to upload. Initially I hated the term 'blog' (still don't like the sound of it) but I find myself browsing through them on an almost continual basis, so I thought I'd give it a shot myself. This will be mainly about what I'm painting/working on this week, sort of a common theme in the miniature gaming blog genre, but then again that's what I like most about them. I'll be adding pics as soon as I can.

Maybe someone will read this, maybe not. Currently this is just for me, so all is well.