Monday, June 26, 2017

8th Edition Command Dice - Thoughts

I decided to order a set of Games Workshop's "command dice" when I ordered my copy of the hard back 8th edition rule book.


These die are a bit of a novelty thing for me if I'm perfectly honest. In the picture above, I show them fresh out of the plastic cylinder tube (top of image) that they came in. The skulls on the die in the middle of the image make it tough to see or discern the actual number being rolled in my opinion. For die, it would have been better to just use pips or a single number in a recognisable font. 

That said, the express purpose of these die is to keep track of the command points that one has in their pool. It is for this purpose that I'm going to give them a pass mark. The thing is, these die are very obviously different to any other die in anyone's collection. As such, they are hugely distinct. This is fundamentally what makes them perfect for this kind of "keeping tabs" usage. I will personally be using them in this manner. Most assuredly, I will never be using them for rolling purposes. 

The final six die (lower part of the image) are for combat statuses. They make it simpler to keep track of various things that are going on during the game and the phases that happen. I am uncertain if I will actually use these particular die. I'm a bit on the fence about them. Take, for instance, the ones that show footprints inside an arrow. The design is precisely the same as the plastic counters / markers that came out with 5th edition. I never even used the full array of counters -- particularly the run ones! Hence, my feelings about these 6 die are exactly the same that I had in 5th edition. Just a bit of a gimmick really. 

Hence, overall, I'll be using some of these die, but not all of them. Would be interested to hear other people's point of view in the comments or via Facebook


Sunday, June 25, 2017

8th Edition Story

Most of what I'm about to put in writing has already been stated plenty of times over. Today, I wanted to chime in with an old timer's point of view. As my long term readers will be (painfully or otherwise) aware, I have been involved in this hobby since Rogue Trader days to a greater or lesser extent.

Over that time period, I've seen a vast number of things change. Not just rules, but the setting as well. Back in the old days, Tau were nowhere. Necrons did not exist. Tyranids were gaunt looking things. Genestealers were beasts that lurked on space hulks and infected whole planets much as they do right now, but were not connected to the Tyranids. Unlike Zoats. They were a Tyranid slave race. Eldar were pirates. They didn't have any aspect warriors at all. Orks were orks. And some of them liked Khorne so much that they worshipped him. (some were also hyribized by genestealers). As did some of the Night Lords. The Alpha Legion might have been Slaanesh fanatics. The Iron Warriors might have been slightly too.

Many people will contend that the 40k timeline has never evolved. I would agree, but with the critical caveat that it has evolved by ret-con to a strong degree. Eldar were once piratical maniacs to be feared. But now they're the seed of a new victory over the chaos gods. The necrons were merely asleep. The Tyranids were always on their way, you see.

With 8th edition, the timeline has truly advanced for the first time in a long time. The return of Guilliman is simply unprecedented in all of 40k. And with him, the ten thousand year long plan that no one ever heard of, or discovered, to build better space marines. The Primaris Space marines. But they don't fit in rhino tanks much like terminators don't. Drop pod armies also seem to be a thing that is about to be dropped in to the past.

The new 40k seems ripe with new possibilities. Although I am cautious about the story line being advanced significantly, I actually don't mind. I think this has been coming for a while and I approve of it. I will be looking forward to seeing where it actually winds up in the months and years ahead. Will they truly consider other sweeping moves like this? Or is it better that we all burned in the fires of Horus' ambition after all?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Note to Self: Mission Design

There exist a wide variety of ways in which to design missions for Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer 30,000, Age of Sigmar, and all manner of other games. One of the defining features of the Games Workshop approach to mission design is that there is no "automatic win" button. In some war-games, the killing of the general might represent an automatic win condition and the game would stop at that very instant. This generally does not happen in 40k.


Indeed, the closest thing to an automatic win is usually (but not always) a complete massacre of the opposing force.


When this condition is met, the winner usually is considered to have won the "primary" mission. Arguably, they have also secured all of the secondaries and perhaps tertiaries (if they are being used) as well.

But herein is the point that I want to make. If the winner in a massacre is presumed to have achieved maximum points, what about the loser? 

In our recent tournament, we designed it so that both the winner and the loser had things to still play for even late on in the game.

For those people aiming for a massacre style victory, we awarded one additional point for achieving this goal. Hence we had some players attempting to avoid being completely massacred just for the sake of not giving away that final tournament point to their opponent if at all possible. This is a good thing and reflects not wanting to give up. Added to this, we implemented secondaries and tertiary missions that could be achieved even if a massacre victory was scored against them.

The most obvious one is "Slay the Warlord". This can be achieved even if one is massacred (and obviously happens by default if one is victorious in a massacre victory!). 

Another is "First Strike" -- this is the same as first blood, but either player can achieve it. All they have to do is kill an entire unit in the first turn of the game. This not only alleviates the bias from achieving first blood from who goes first (which is undeniably a huge contributing factor), but gives both players something to aim for.

Other examples include moving a particular unit to a particular destination during the course of a game. This can still happen for anyone who subsequently gets massacred.

Hence, when designing missions, we like to frequently include at least one or two (secondaries or tertiaries) that can be scored by someone who eventually gets massacred regardless. It still gives people something to play for. Of course, there are still aspects of the game, such as having a unit in the oppositions deployment zone at the end of the game, that cannot be achieved if one is massacred. Instead, perhaps award a secondary or tertiary for moving all of ones own units out of their deployment zone (and thus score secondaries that way) rather than depend on the state of the game on the final turn. In this way, both players have things to aim for that they can achieve tournament points for during the game, and not just at the end. Meanwhile, having that extra point for a total wipe out victory will drive the win-at-all-costs player onward, and probably to distraction (as we experienced the other week!). 


Thursday, June 22, 2017

8th Edition Rulebook First Impressions

It feels like a very long time since I pre-ordered my copy of the 8th Edition rulebook. (Note to self: it isn't that long ago really!). It also feels like a long time since Games Workshop send me their notification email that it had been dispatched. (Note to self: it wasn't -- it was totally consistent with the expectation date of dispatch!). It feels like it has been in the postal system for quite some time. (Note to self: you are absolutely correct in that assumption, even if you're wrong about the other two!). 

But finally. FINALLY! It is here!


The shrink wrapping in the picture certainly didn't last too long, rest assured!

There are a number of facets of this new rulebook that I would like to comment on. I don't think I will do it all in one post though. So today, I'm going to focus on global impressions.

Organisation.
Firstly is the organisation of the book itself. Most of the background material is presented to the front end of the book, with a strong focus on the Imperium of Man itself. This is to be expected at some level. Yet, it does represent a deviation from some of the other core presentations where the rules came nearer to the front and the background materials to the back of the book. And of course, it differs from the 7th edition rule book that had three different volumes combine in one sturdy cardboard sleeve. 

I rather like the idea of having a lot more focus on the background and on the fluff side of things right up front. Being an old-timer (Rogue Trader) person, this certainly appeals to me. I just find it a pity that they could not small-font all the unit entries in to the back of the book as well instead of having several different pseudo-codexes produced alongside this (and codexes that are going to be outdated rather quickly if I'm reading between the lines correctly). That would have been much better, and probably would have harkened back to the Rogue Trader era a bit more for us very old timers!

Gaming Photography.
The second and final thing that I'm going to note for today is some of the photography. If I flick through the older rulebooks and search for people playing the game, they are generally (but maybe not exclusively) white males. Many appearing somewhat middle-aged. In this rule book, what is striking to me is how this has changed (for the better) to have more women visibly playing the game. Now, of course, these are probably staged photographs. But with daughters of my own who are getting in to the hobby, I welcome this change of focus away from men and encouraging women and girls in to the hobby. About (redacted) time frankly. Gaming should not be seen as a white, male, young person (possibly testosterone poisoned judging by some of the comments on various forums out there) hobby. It is for everyone who is interested. 

Good on Games Workshop for updated their marketing, sincerely from me. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Battle Report: Ynnari vs Alpha Legion (1500 pts)

The final in the series of battle reports today from the "End of 7th" tournament we had. This time, I am using my 30k Alpha Legion forces against Eldar Ynnari, in the third match of three (following on from the Tau in Game Two). 

I also have a confession to make. This was the first time ever that I'd faced a true Ynnari Eldar force. I really had not much of a clue what to expect beyond knowing the mechanics of the "burst" a little bit.

My forces remained unchanged from the previous matchup: 

Alpha Legion List: 
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals 
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres) 
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns) 
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons) 
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)

The Ynnari were running the following.

Ynnari Eldar List:
Reborn Host
HQs: Eldard, Farseer with singing spear and Anath'lan stone
Elites: 5 Wraithguard, Death Jester with lost shroud, haywire grenades, shrieker cannon, Shadowseer with mask of secrets, haywire grenades, mastery lvl 2, neuro disruptor
Troops: 5 Rangers, 3 wind riders with scatter lasers

Aspect Host Formation: 4xDire Avengers with exarch; 6xDire Avengers with exarch and wave serpent (target matrix, holo fields, shuriken cannon, spirit stones, bright lance), 5xWarp Spiders with exarch.

Ulthew Strikeforce:
Elites: 10x Black Guardians with eldar missile launcher platform 

To be honest, I was dreading facing this list. Plenty of firepower in there and nothing I can do against the psychic strength of the list either. 

The one thing -- and it was a very critical thing -- that I had going for me was that I managed to gain the initiative to go first. Deploying across the board, I decided that I wanted to take out the Eldar piecemeal style and target their key assets. The game objective was the simplest one possible: annihilation of the enemy. The winner would be decided by the points value of the opposition we managed to take down. Really as simple as that.

Early Turns (and the flank).

In the early turns, I advanced my foot-slogging veterans up the table to try to out gun the dire avengers that they had in front of them. They took several out.


But they were rapidly reinforced by the jet bikes who retaliated well against my marines.

A game of cat and mouse followed on this particular side of the board featuring me trying to keep pace with the Eldar and gunning them down whenever I could. The chance to charge the Eldar never really materialised, so I relied on the bolters and the melta guns I had to do the dirty work here. But it was not without significant casualties. 

Middle Turns (and the rest of the board).
In the middle of the game, several key things happened, broadly in swift succession.

The first one was that I made the mistake of killing the warp spiders with the Master of Signals. This prompted the Death Jester to spike in his burst. Its a very nasty combination that I hadn't really thought about too hard. The Death Jester shot at my assault squad, forcing them to take a morale test. Which they dutifully failed and started fleeing backwards off the table.

Rallying them the next turn, I charged them toward the Jester. Shooting on overwatch, the Jester killed again. By the time I'd taken out the wave serpent with my contemptor dreadnought, he was bursting again. I really didn't think that vehicles could cause a burst, but they do. Drat. I'll remember that for next time.

Hence, by the time I actually managed to get in to combat with the Jester, the situation looked grim for my assault squad.


However, the thunder hammer marine was able to prevail here and finish the job finally. But it was a close run thing.

The turning point in the game really only came about when I managed to get my storm eagle on to the board though. With its extra fire power, it soon started to eliminate wraith guard and shadow seer. Eldrad lasted a little while longer, but eventually Skorr claimed his head for the Legion. Not bad for the King head hunter!


Late Turns.
By the end of the fourth turn, there were few Eldar left on the table due to the fire power (and fluke die rolls that I was managing to pull off). The sheer firepower that the storm eagle was pumping out eliminated any threat to it from the board.

The last few threats were the highly mobile units that were still around.


My decimated veteran squad finally did the trick though, seeing off the final jet bikes and their dreaded scatter lasers to ensure that the Alpha Legion scored a decisive Massacre victory by the 5th turn. No eldar left on this world whatsoever.

I hindsight, I was very lucky. Although I played my set up correctly, the fact that I went first really sealed the match up. I think if I went second, it would have been a completely different story altogether. 

Combined with the master of signals doing a lot of the (lucky) dirty work with the orbital blast and the storm eagle coming on to team up its firepower with the contemptor, the game was sealed by the fourth turn. 

However, the lessons learnt here were painful. The Ynnari burst moves thanks to the death of nearby units is immensely powerful and one that I won't forget in a hurry!

Monday, June 19, 2017

8th

There seems to have been an issue with the postal service. The issue is not quite on the scale as a certain Icelandic eruption, just to be clear.

Hence, it looks like I'll be pottering around at least one more day before the new rules and everything else arrives!

Gah! I want my new toys already!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Facebook

Sequestered Industries