Thursday, June 28, 2012

6th ed. Allies: Not Before The Apocalypse!

There are some armies in 6th edition 40k that won't ally "Not Before The Apocalypse". Most notably, tyranids cannot ally with any other force in 40k.  There are also other combinations (daemons and grey knights -- what? no heretic inquisitors?), but tyranids seem to have been singled out as the only army without any ally options.  In some regards that isn't a surprise.

BUT.... if we're playing an apocalypse game, I'm allowed tyranid allies, right?! 

 *evil smile*

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Allied Thoughts for Fateweaver

With the new edition on our doorsteps, I've been trying to think about how to maximize the advantages of being able to take allies for daemons (and chaos space marines -- but I'll leave that for another day ... although ork stompas did cross my mind). 

So, I started thinking about Fateweaver and his special ability: he can have his friends re-roll saving throws. What could be exploited with this?  

The first thought I had was to marry him up with something that had good shooting.  That connected me to the idea of having multiple units of obliterators.  Perhaps up on the roof of a piece of scenery that we bought as part of the new force organization chart?

Alternatively, perhaps some Tau allies (not best buddies, but as I read it, could still be affected by Fateweavers rules -- let me know if you disagree) on the same roof could also work well.  Railguns (etc.) could be very appealing there!

Ork allies might make for an entertaining alternative.  Not exactly known for their shooting, but in vast numbers, that could make for a fun army list!  The same might be said for Imperial Guard.

There's too many thoughts zooming around my head to think about with allies.  I think some testing is going to be needed before a final list is built for my 6th edition version of chaos armies.  But the prospect of allies are certainly making me think -- they're going to be a great innovation for 6th!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Power Weapons and FNP for 6th

I must admit that I'm a little torn about the 6th edition rules for power weapons and Feel No Pain (FNP).  Although I've not yet got the new rules (and hence going by the rumours), it seems like power weapons are now AP3.  This gives terminators a big buff, but on the other hand makes units like bloodletters and bloodcrushers a touch worse off.

On the other hand, feel no pain moving from 4+ to 5+ means that my plague marines are suddenly a lot weaker.  No longer do they have an equivalent 2+ save -- it's a 2.33+ save equivalent.  This makes me sad as small arms fire is going to bring them down more frequently.  It feels like this change has been brought in to specifically tackle other armies (Blood Angels?).  I hope that the new chaos and daemons codex makes plaguebearers and marines back to 4+ FNP -- their points value is now over costed.

On the other hand, they now have a FNP save against power weapons which they never had before!  But then again, only a small subsample of opposing units have access to those weapons by the bucketful.  So its not going to particularly balance the move to 5+ FNP I think.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Either way, it'll be good to finally get hold of the new rules when they come out and play a few games through.  There's a number of game changers in there (allies, fortifications, etc.) that go above and beyond these considerations and we'll all be re-thinking our army lists as a result!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6th ed Psy Power: Molten Beam (Pyromancy)

With the pre-orders for 6th Edition Warhammer 40,000 up for sale at Games Workshop, the news is coming in thick and fast.  On the pre-release page for the psychic powers card set, we get our first glimpse of one of the new power available to certain psykers.

Its called Molten Beam and falls under the Pyromancy umbrella.

On the surface, it is the psyker's melta gun: the same stats and range as a melta gun: S8, AP1, 12" range, assault 1, combined with the melta special rules.  This will give many psykers a tactical edge if the rumours about these powers being in addition to the regular powers turn out to be true.  A deepstriking librarian with access to pyromancy can suddenly turn in to a vehicle killer, in addition to other purposes (turning enemies in to chaos spawn! for chaos ... but interestingly, Space Wolves and Blood Angels apparently aren't getting access to pyromancy  - unlike regular marines of all other types).

The only thing I'm not certain about is the "warp charge 2" words in the top right corner.  I'm guessing that this refers to the psykers level, but wouldn't wager on that.

The image above is of my vintage bone armour chaos champion.  The connection to psychic powers (however tenuous!) is that I used to use this miniature as the Changeling (lower image): a Tzeentch horror with a unique power (the glamour).

That brings me circuitously to my final thoughts: daemons are not getting access to these powers.  I suppose that the principle reason is that daemons powers are not psychics, fundamentally -- they're ingrained and intrinsic in to the daemon themselves (i.e. no psychic tests ever). So I can see that angle.  But perhaps the next daemons codex will give access to them at some cost (e.g. swapping of powers perhaps)?  A forlorn hope maybe...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Nurgle List for 6th Edition

With all the recent rumours about allies, I thought one of the obvious starting points for chaos players to consider is an "Armoured Epidemius" list.  Mixing the advantages of chaos space marines and other chaos essentials to maximize the count, this is the first list that I've been tempted to put in to play and experiment with once the new rules hit.
1500 points of Nurgle Allies:

HQ: Epidemius (110 points)
Troops: 10 Plaguebearers with an instrument of chaos (155 points)

Chaos Space Marines:
HQ: Daemon Prince, Mark of Nurgle, Wings, Doombolt (160 points)
Troops: 5 plague marines, 1 plague champion, 1 melta gun, 1 flamer (170 points)

Troops: 5 plague marines, 1 plague champion, 1 melta gun, 1 flamer (170 points)

Troops: 5 plague marines, 1 plague champion, 2 plasma guns (185 points)
Dedicated Transport: Rhino with havoc launcher (50 points)
Dedicated Transport: Rhino with havoc launcher (50 points)
Dedicated Transport: Rhino with havoc launcher (50 points)

Fast Attack: Blight Drone (125 points)
Fast Attack: Blight Drone (125 points)
Heavy Support: Vindicator with Daemonic Possession (a Nurgle Possessing daemon, of course! hehehe...) (145 points)

Whilst the vindicator might be disallowed (replace with 2 obliterators instead!), the list is gunning to get the count of Epidemus up as fast as possible (assuming that he comes in in the "first wave" ... but that's going to be an interesting interplay between chaos marines and daemons in itself: can marine icons be used by chaos daemons for instance?).  The blight drones provide a much needed fast attack slot option for this army and the daemon prince is there to both distract and get rid of enemy vehicles.  The load out of the plague marines is one of my preferred options, providing them with tactical flexibility, backed up with mobility in the rhinos.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Battle Report: Chaos Space Marines vs. Crimson Fists and Black Templars

The first of the team battles in the Wasp Campaign features my chaos space marines taking on the combined forces of the Crimson Fists and Black Templars chapters.  Since I have less manufactoria, I'm at a points disadvantage overall.  Here are the army lists:

Chaos Space Marines (2100 points):

Daemon Prince, Mark of Nurgle, Wings, Doombolt (160 points)
Daemon Prince, Wings (130 points)

1 Chaos Dreadnought with Plasma Cannon, Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon, twin-linked bolter (105 points)

3 Chaos Terminators, 3 combi-meltas, 1 power fist (115 points)
4 Chaos Terminators, 2 combi-flamers, 1 heavy flamer, 1 chain fist (150 points)
5 plague marines, 1 flamer, 1 melta, 1 plague champion with powerfist, 1 icon (175 points)
5 plague marines, 1 flamer, 1 melta, 1 plague champion with powerfist, 1 icon (175 points)
5 plague marines, 1 plasma gun (130 points)
9 genestealers, 1 broodlord (172 points)

Dedicated Transports:
1 Rhino with Havoc Launcher (50 points)
1 Rhino with Havoc Launcher (50 points)
1 Rhino with Havoc Launcher (50 points)

Fast Attack: 
6 Chaos raptors, 1 aspiring champion with power fist, 2 meltas (180 points)

Heavy Support: 
2 obliterators (150 points)
Chaos Vindicator, Daemonic Possession (145 points)
Soul Grinder, vomit and phlegm (160 points)

Crimson Fists (1200 points):

HQ Wargear Qty. Points Total
Pedro Kantor 1 175 175
Tactical Squad 10 170
Flamer 1 0
Power Fist 1 25
Lascannon 1 10 205
Tactical Squad 10 170
Flamer 1 0
Power Fist 1 25
Lascannon 1 10 205
Razorback 1 40
Twin-Linked Lascannon 1 35
Hunter-Killer Missile 1 10
Dozer Blade 1 5 90
Sternguard Veterans 5 125 +BS1
Power Fist 1 25 +Inf
Combi-Melta 2 10
Combi-Plasma 3 15 175
Ironclad Dreadnought 1 135
Close Combat Weapon 1 0
Seismic Hammer 1 0
Meltagun 1 0
Heavy Flamer 1 10 145 995
Drop Pod 1 35
Storm Bolter 1 0 35
Devastator Squad 5 90 +TH
Missile Launcher 2 30
Plasma Cannon 2 50 170 205

Black Templars (1275 points):

Emperors Champion90
Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds150
Power Weapon115
Storm Bolter15
Iron Halo125
Artificer Armour120
Melta Bomb15
Sword Brethren Terminator Squad5200
Power Fists50
Storm Bolters50
Tank Hunter515
Cyclone Missile Launcher250
Sword Brethren Squad595
Furious charge10
Pair of lightning claws125
Power weapon115
Close Combat Weapon30
Bolt Pistol40
Frag Grenades55
Krak Grenades210
Crusader SquadInitiates580
Plasma Gun16
Crusader SquadInitiates580
Plasma Gun16
Predator Annihilator120
Turret mounted twin linked lascannon10
side mounted lascannons225
Power of the Machine Spirit130
Land Speeder Typhoon150
Typhoon Missile Launcher120
Land Speeder Typhoon150
Typhoon Missile Launcher120
Smoke Launcher13

The game is annihilation and we square off with a pitched battle set-up.  The terrain features ruins, craters and rocks arranged by independent parties and we roll off for who gets to set up first (etc.) which I miraculously win.  I elect to go first and set up in a castle in one corner of the board, apart from my dreadnought, which goes in the other corner.

My opponents surprise me by NOT reserving everything.  The Crimson Fists set up opposite me apart from one squad on the other side of the board (to take out the dreadnought).  The Black Templars reserved quite a lot (terminators, etc.), but placed on their command squad.

Turn 1.
I bring in my soul grinder (we're playing allies in 5th, okay?!) but he scatters a bit further back than I would have liked ... nearly enough to land on a stone wall, but narrowly avoids going back to the warp.  I move forward key elements of my army: a couple of rhinos, the raptors, the princes and leave a squad of plague marines and my obliterators in one of the ruins.  Then I unleash a firestorm backed up by the dice gods!  Man, I couldn't believe how lucky my rolling was (and how poor the Crimson Fists saves were).  I really felt sorry for the guys as the obliterators and dreadnought hit their squads with lucky plasma cannon shots, followed up by soul grinder barrage, rhino havoc launchers and the rest.  Although I really wanted to take out Pedro before he could summon down his orbital bombardment, I failed.  But most of the rest of that squad perished. Other enemy positions that were taken out included the predator, most of the Black Templar command squad, a few random devastators, a crusade squad and others.

In exchange, my opponents had a terrible opening round.  Pedro's guys unleashed their volley, but the daemonic possession rule saved both my vindicator and soul grinder.  Meanwhile, the ironclad dropped in behind the vindicator and tried to take it out with a rear armour shot.  The shot missed.  The only miniature I lost on this turn was a single raptor.  Seriously, I've never seen such one sided die.

Turn 2.
The remaining Black Templars squads come in for fire from my increasingly focussed targeting.  There's only a few of them left now -- just enough to have a daemon prince do some mopping up in later turns.
Meanwhile on the opposite flank, I decide to outflank my genestealers on to the board (allies, remember!).  They creep up on the Crimson Fists that are gunning for my dreadnought.
Sadly for me, the dreadnought dies this turn and plays no further threat.  But there's nothing that's going to stop those genestealers from contacting the enemy in my next turn.  The opposition's reserved guys fail to show up.  More lucky and unlikely saves ensue for my side, but my daemon princes do lose a couple of wounds each and an obliterator feels some pain as well.

Turn 3.
It's ugly.  If you're a loyalist.

The genestealers make short work of the Crimson Fists, with the brood lord (patriarch!) ensuring the power fist does not strike back.

The daemon princes round up the survivors and finish them off.  A lucky melta shot from my remaining raptors wrecks the ironclad.

And the we look around.  There's nothing left except what is in reserve for the loyalists. We delve in to the books: can reserves come on to the board if there are no other miniatures on your team left?  Apparently not.  The game ends with a massacre victory to the forces of chaos whom the fickle dice gods favoured in this battle.  I feel dreadful for my opponents -- a turn 3 victory is amazing when I'm behind on points like this. But by not reserving everything, they provided me with the targets that I needed and I systematically took them down one by one through my castled up approach.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dark Angels Coming Up

The rumours feel like they're true: hot on the heels of Chaos Space Marines, the Dark Angels will be descending upon us.  My long term readers will know the soft spot I have for this legion, so these rumours are very enticing!

I'm wondering how the two forces will be tied together with their releases (and possible co-releases in the next boxed set)?  I'm personally hoping for a bit more of the modern Fallen -- the forces the were loyal to Luther on Caliban at the turn of the Horus Heresy. I'd be very interested in seeing how the new Dark Angels could be adapted to use as a Fallen codex, rather than use the chaos space marine codex as Fallen.  

What can I say: the thought of Death Wing and Raven Wing traitors excite me!  

(addenda: I'm reading The Primarchs right now and have become equally excited by the Death Guard's "Grave Wardens" terminators.... featured in the Dark Angels book chapters alongside the Iron Hands...).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Close Combat Weapons with AP in 6th

One of the rumours circulating about the 6th edition of Warhammer 40k is the introduction of AP values for different weapons. This is one change that I'm genuinely liking the sound of.

In some ways, this already exists, with AP1 being used for power fists (and the like).  However, I wonder if space marine chainswords could now be differentiated from "normal" knives and the like by having a superior AP value -- that would be a nice development as I've always thought that they should be better at ripping through armour than some plague zombie's dulled, rusted blade.  The more deadly looking, the better the AP!  Well, that's my dream anyhow.

The guy on the left in the image is a plague marine horseman lord with a very large spiky looking halberd that is being wielded in one hand.  I reckon this should have AP6 at least, just because it looks threatening in the hands of an evil chaos lord.  Notwithstanding that he's also wearing a power fist on the other arm, what do you reckon a mean looking halberd's AP should be?

If a somewhat mundane melee weapon gains AP6 or 5 such as a chainsword or intimidating halberd, and a power sword gets AP2, I'm also interested to hear what people think AP4 or AP3 might be caused by?  Some eldar weapons perhaps?  Plague swords and other chaos implements of death dealing?  Other weapons?  Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing the wording of this rule in 6th!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Apocalypse Homebrew: Vuldant the Reaper

The defiler of Cranthia VI, Imperial Shrine World and tomb of Saint Anthei of the knife, Vuldant the Reaper and his warbands have ploughed a swathe of destruction against Imperial Shrines in the Chorus Celestia subsector.  Local forces report his attacks come without warning, as if the winged horror had been invisibly reconnoitring the area for weeks ahead of time.  The truth is probably darker and sceptics point to his daemonic visage...

6  4  6 4 3 5 3 10 3+/5+

175 points.

Wargear: Power armour, wings, bolt pistol, master-crafted power maul
Special Rules: Daemon kin, infiltrate, scout, independent character, winged charge

Winged Charge: Vuldant may charge up to 12" in to combat.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fulgrim: Guilty as Charged?

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers from the Horus Heresy Books "Fulgrim" and "The Primarchs" to name but two.


In Fulgrim, we learnt that the primarch became possessed by a daemon concealed inside an insidious Laer blade.  Many, including myself, leapt on the possibility the Fulgrim could actually get redeemed somehow at a point in the future.  This was appealing from a number of points of view, including the secretive illuminati covens.

In contrast, we now learn through The Reflection Crack'd (a book within The Primarchs), that Fulgrim was able to best the daemon who had control of his flesh.  This must have taken time, as Horus, Lorgar (read: Aurelian) amongst others were certainly aware of his possession before Fulgrim managed to free his body of the possession.

Although I didn't really like the torture scenes within The Reflection Crack'd, the dialogue was interesting. Fulgrim reveals that he figured out how to transpose places with the possessing daemon, but along the way, he has fell to the seductions of the Dark Prince, Slaanesh.  The death of Ferrus Manus was but a little blip of regret along the way, and now all but forgotten.  Around them, the Emperor's Children start to tear themselves apart: Lucius considers that it won't be too long till there's nothing left but self-serving (and servicing) warbands.

I like this outcome.  From reading previous books, I was becoming concerned that many of the primarchs weren't fully guilty of Heresy.  Lorgar perhaps taken in by his lieutenants.  Fulgrim being possessed, etc.  But now it turns out that Fulgrim is guilty as charged: he has willingly taken steps along the path of Slaanesh and submitted himself to the Dark Prince's service, thanks to previous exposure and his own weaknesses.  Moreover, he has started to (possibly) mutate along the path toward daemonhood.

Although there has been discussion about whether it is Fulgrim back in his body in actuality, I contend that it is.  I like the evil, chaotic primarchs being guilty as charged and leading their legions to damnation.

(image from warhammer 40k wikia; I'm not sure of the original source though -- let me know!)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wasp Campaign: Round 4 Prologue

Multi-way battles are something that I've only rarely participated in.  In the fourth round of the Wasp Campaign, we'll be conducting two large-scale multi-way battles:

My own Chaos Space Marine force will take on the combined might of the Crimson Fists and the Black Templars.  The loyalists seek to destroy the chaos forces once and for all, driving them from the surface of the planet and freeing territory from their clutches.  I, of course, view this as "just as planned"... since I used my points from the last round to destroy the Blood Ravens manufactoria and let the Blood Ravens reduce my territory so that I might actually have a sporting chance...

Meanwhile, the Blood Ravens (whose allegiance to the Emperor is at best dubious according the Black Templars) will take on the Orks and the Dark Eldar.  I've offered to loan some khorne berzerkers to the Blood Ravens, should they need any chaos allies...

The battles will have a total base value of 2000, modified by manufactoria and the spread thin rule.  The players who are teaming up will have a base value of 1000 points, again modified as above.

This is going to be fun!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spread Thin Rule in multi-way Battles

In the next round of our campaign, we will be having 2-on-1 battles.  This poses a dilemma for how to implement the "spread thin" rule for our campaign.

The usual spread thin rule (reproduced below) is based on how many Planetary Empire tiles each opponent holds before the battle, such that the player with the larger number of tiles is at a points disadvantage (i.e. spread thin!) compared to the smaller empire.

Tile Difference
Points Bonus
+50 points.
+100 points.
+150 points.

There are two broad options:
(i) The players simply total the number of tiles that they have and consult the chart above.
(ii) Each player compares individually with their opponent.
(iii) Both of the above!

Here's an example:
The Tau hold 6 tiles and are being attacked by an unholy alliance of necrons and daemons.  The necrons have 4 tiles and the daemons have 3.

Option (i) would see the tau get a bonus 50 points as they have 1 tile less than the necrons plus daemons in total.

Option (ii) would see the necrons get a bonus 50 points and the daemons a bonus 100 points.

We think we might go for option (iii), since it gives everyone a bonus, but would like to hear suggestions and narrative interpretations for any of the options (e.g. flank attacks on both sides for option ii).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Comparing Blight Drones and Land Speeders

Blight drones of Nurgle are somewhat like daemonic land speeders.  At least at first glance!  So today, I wanted to check out how similar the two were and whether their points values stack up against one another well.

For 125 points, the blight drone features better armour than a land speeder, deamonic possession, a reaper autocannon and a mawcannon (with the same rules as the soul grinder's mawcannon).  Additionally, it explodes in a bit splat of putrid pus when destroyed: bile and goo showering one and all (usually accompanied by cheering of Nurgle cultists I dare say as well).

Can we build a pseudo-blight drone out of a land speeder?  Let's give it a go.
The base cost of a landspeeder is 50.  Let's give it an assault cannon for 40 points (which is mostly like a reaper autocannon in function ... but not quite, so go with me here). We'll add on a mawcannon profile for 25 points, much as we would with a soul grinder.  Let's add on some daemonic possession for 20 points.  That gives us a points cost of 135.  

Hence before we even consider that the blight drone has better front and side armour, we're already 10 points lower than an actual blight drone with our land speeder analogue.  But, this better armour is offset by having half the ballistic skill of a land speeder. Given that the mawcannon option is probably going to be the weapon of choice for a blight drone, this isn't too bad.  The reaper autocannon is much maligned, but it is not too shabby.  Perhaps the new chaos codex will give it heavy 3 instead of heavy 2 to make it more competitive.  If not, its not a great worry.

So, from the above analysis, I reckon that a blight drone is actually reasonable value for points.  When I originally saw the rules for it, I wasn't too sure (to be fair).  But now, I'm a little bit more convinced.  Moreover, they add a valuable option for the fast attack slot in both chaos space marines and chaos daemons.

(image taken from Forge World for illustrative purposes).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wasp Campaign: Round 3 Results

The results from the third round of the Wasp Campaign were as follows:

Blood Ravens 8 -- 3 Chaos Space Marines
Crimson Fists 6 -- 3 Black Templars
Dark Eldar 8 -- 2 Orks

The Blood Ravens crushed the chaos forces on the Moon of Wasp, recapturing Shackleton's Landing Hive City and freeing its citizenry from enslavement.  But will the citizens be subjected to worse following the Black Templars investigations?  We've heard malicious rumours that paladin84 may have been turned to Khorne worship... Meanwhile the Dark Eldar inflicted a terrible price on the orks, searing their souls in exchange for a longer life expectancy.

In the next round, we'll be going 2 on 1 which we're all looking forward to playing!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

NEWS: Games Workshop goes Digital

Announced today, Games Workshop is going digital.  The major news is that Codex: Space Marines is available through iBookstore for iPads (along with 8 other products as of today).  The new version of the codex contains more than 300 pages and updates for the stormtalon ship.  

Could this be the shape of things to come?  More than likely.  By ensuring sales through digital media, they create a new income stream and one that might be preferable if they update (i.e. faq and errata) the codices that way from now on.  Moreover, they potentially(?) take away revenue stream from online retailers through this method.  Clever, appealing and a good move for GW if they keep everything up to date.  Pity we can only get the product through iBookstore, but I understand why.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Colour of Craters?

In creating a Martian-themed gaming table , resplendant with multiple craters, I faced a painting issue: what colour should the interiors of craters be?
(i) the same colour as the exterior?
(ii) a different tone to the exterior?
(iii) a different colour to the exterior?

I can see arguments in favour of all three, depending on the geology of the planet in questions.  But eventually, I decided that it didn't matter too much: this is science fiction and therefore we're at liberty to come up with something ourselves.  That said, I didn't want luminous green crater interiors ... just something that looked plausible, if not "right" (whatever that means).

Accordingly, I began to paint the interiors of the craters in a slightly darker tone to the exterior, with a touch more brown paint added.  In the image below, I've tweaked the colour contrast settings to bring out the change in colour more than is apparent in real life (just for effect).  The interior does indeed look more brown than the exterior.  But, I don't think it looks odd: I'd contend it looks quite a plausible colour for the terrain to be.  There were a couple of layers of watered down black paint applied to this surface to give it a recessed wash, but the effect is there.  The final step will be to highlight the rim of the crater in red (or perhaps a red/orange blend).

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