Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Vindicator


The vindicator is an excellent choice, and a fire magnet, but slightly more pricey than its chaos counterpart.  The options are all reasonably: grab an extra weapon to lower the chances of having the main cannon destroyed.  Take extra armour and the storm shield: both great choices.  Then on the tabletop, roll forward with your S10 cannon and shoot away!  The S10 ranged weapon is awesome.

Let's look at a pair of builds:

Vindicator, siege shield (135 points)
Add on a cheap third weapon to taste and you've got a winner.  This should/would be the basic set-up for most "standard" vindicators out there.

Chaos Vindicator, siege shield, extra armour, extra storm bolter, hunter-killer missile (160 points)
A fully decked-out vindicator with all the options (except the dozer blade -- whats the point with a siege shield!).  Use the missile on turn one, and then plough forward shooting at liberty.  Even take a pot shot at a tank shock if the tank lasts long enough.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Whirlwind

The main issue I have with the Whirlwind is that it is almost exclusively anti-infantry.  If facing an infantry heavy opponent, then its bound to be useful -- particularly as the weaponry can ignore cover if required.

But if you don't know in advance, then it is perhaps a poorer option to take.  Especially if facing a mechanized opponent.  But that's by no means guaranteed these days.

Sure, an hunter-killer missile can be added to the chassis for a little bit of dual mode.  But realistically, we want the whirlwind sitting behind cover and out of the line of sight for an optimized firing solution.

In its favour is the points value.  At 65 points for a basic variety, or 75 points with an hunter-killer missile, its is very very attractive.  I can see why I still see a few of these on the table top even in 6th.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Predator

My review of the predator can pretty much be copy and pasted from my review of the chaos predator.  Some, here's there pertinent details:

Firstly, note that it can be constructed with autocannon or twin-linked las-cannon as the primary turret weapon, with the usual sponson options.  In addition, it also gets access to the chaos vehicle equipment list for extra load-outs.

The predator needs a role realistically.  The triple-lascannon set-up (the annihilator) will be popular to take down opposing vehicles and monsters, whereas the autocannon (the destructor) and heavy bolter option is much better suited to anti-horde duty.  The cross-over variants are rarer. I regard only the lascannon sponson one as viable since the other variant tries to do two jobs at once and never gets much bang for its buck; whilst I've not seen the mono-turret version played anywhere in a long long while.  Still, the points cost is very comparable to havocs.  i.e. if you want 3 lascannons amongst those havocs, you're paying about the same points cost as for the predator.  So you've got to make the choice: is a vehicle better than infantry?  Maybe and maybe not, depending on circumstance, set-up and opponents.

Here's a few potential builds that are worth consideration.

Predator, Autocannon, Heavy Bolter sponsons (95 points)
Cheap and great at pumping out plenty of shots every turn.  The classic "dakka pred" is still a cheap cost option to threaten squads of infantry and hordes, whilst having a reasonable reach and also able to threaten light transport style tanks.

Predator, Autocannon, Lascannon sponsons (115 points)
This is the one to take down monstrous creatures and provides anti-tank capability to boot.  It also has a reasonable price tag.

Predator, Twin-Linked Lascannon, Lascannon sponsons (140 points)
The tank-buster.  And can put hurt on greater daemons, big tyranids and other monsters to boot.  It can even take on flyers with a reasonable probability.  But I personally don't play this variant.  I prefer alternate ways of taking down tanks, so please take this entry as a suggestion for apocalypse only.

Predator, Twin-Linked Lascannon, Hunter-killer missile, Dozer Blade, Extra Armour (125 points)
A different idea here.  Its a tank hunter that once its done its job goes for a tank shock.  Not quite as good as my chaos predator variant due to lack of destroyer blades, but what the heck.

Dark Angels Review: Devastator Squad

We now turn to the heavy support options of the DA codex.  The devastator squad is actually a tempting option, particularly in the infantry heavy meta game that 6th edition seems to be.  The weapons themselves provide the real options for the squad to select from, and they are costed quite reasonably.  The interesting option here would probably have to be plasma cannons- despite the "gets hot" rule, I think they're attractive.  But then again, they're also competing against the missile launcher (with flakk options) which is bound to be popular.

The veteran sergeant is also an extremely tempting upgrade.  When combined with the stubborn special rule, I think these guys aren't going to be running anywhere quickly.  Particularly sat on top of a bastion or behind a defence line.  I'm not convinced melta bombs are such a good option (why are they getting close and personal?) unless paried with melta guns maybe.  The transport options do provide a means of getting from A to B in a good way, though I'm not sure about drop pods (why waste a turn on snap shots? ... but then again, who's to say you won't need to reposition your squad anyway during the game?).

Lets have a peek at a few builds:

Devastator squad, 3 plasma cannons, veteran sergeant (125 points)
I like this one -- its fluffy, cute and not too pricey.  Sit atop a bastion for a good line of sight (or other backfield ruin) and start targeting enemy terminators.  Several of these squads is something to be feared.

Devastator squad, 4 missile launchers with flakk, veteran sergeant (180 points)
The skyfire solution to enemy fliers.  The flakk option makes them super pricey though and I wonder if countering incoming airforces might be better handled in a different manner.  Equally, if targeting a flier, I think this squad is going to do well to be honest, just from the statistics point of view.

Devastator squad (ten strong), 2 lascannons, 2 multimeltas, veteran sergeant, rhino transport (245 points)
Combat squad these guys.  Have the lascannons on the backfield with the veteran sergeant and take the multi meltas in the rhino searching out a suitable target.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Loken and Abaddon from ForgeWorld

And if the daemons release wasn't exciting enough, Forge World has just release the miniatures for Abaddon and Loken in 30k / Horus Heresy Betrayal.  The image below is sourced directly from Forge World (all copyright to them - no issue intended by reproducing it here and am happy to take it down.).

I really adore these sculpts!  The Loken miniature is exceptionally dynamic with his cloak billowing behind him as he races forward, taking shots with the bolt pistol whilst the chainsword is revving and itching for its next bite.

Abaddon in his cataphractii armour is similarly appealing.  His gait is one of towering imposition: he looks like he means business and is ready to face down anything or anyone.  Least of all Loken!

The price tag for the pair is 55UKP.  Comparable to Angron.  I'm sorely tempted to be honest.  But then again, maybe I'll wait until Mortarion show's his face (...or cowl).

Daemons for pre-order

Very excited to see that the new daemons are already up for pre-order!

Herald of Nurgle / Khorne / Slaanesh at 15UKP // 39AUD
Codex at 30UKP // 83AUD
Special edition codex in 4 forms (one for each power) at 55UKP // 150AUD
Bloodthrone of Khorne / Skull Cannon of Khorne at 25UKP // 55AUD
Herald of Tzeentch on Burning Chariot / Burning Chariot at 25 UKP //
Plague Drones of Nurgle at 35UKP // 91AUD
Psychic cards at 4.5UKP // 10AUD

So, how soon will the special edition codexes be sold old?  Very soon I'm guessing.
Regardless, I'm super excited by the Plague Drones!  They're beautiful ... in a Nurglesque way!  Roll on March 2nd!

(there's also a typo on the Aussie page, I think: the herald of Nurgle is listed as 25AUD, rather than 39AUD as the other two are).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Ravenwing Dark Talon

Much like the Nephilim jetfighter, I want to like this one. But I can't justify the points cost or the taking up of a fast attack slot in the Dark Angels army for the dark talon. Once again, I feel the points cost is fairly high for what it is (although its not quite as overcosted as the nephilim jetfighter to be fair).

The weapons are entertaining if nothing else: two hurricane bolters will certainly give pause for thought for sheer bolt shell output.  The rift cannon has a short range (18") and can cause blind.  Its okay, but nothing special to be honest - and it suffers from a different range to the hurricane bolters.  The stasis bomb is the most interesting option though.  A modifier of -3 WS and I to the target can really help if a deathwing squad is about to deal with some dark eldar and it could make a critical difference to a games outcome to be fair. But with only one use (its a bomb after all), its not as much use as the six missiles found on the nephilim jetfighter.  I guess that explains why its slightly cheaper.  But: I won't be taking this unit because I'd be thinking about Ravenwing units instead.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Nephilim Jetfighter

Much fanfare was made of this before we saw the rules. And after seeing the rules, I think its safe to say few players will be taking this one. Its a shame in my opinion, as the jetfighter is a nice model (in my opinion!).

The reasons that I think the Nephilim jetfighter won't be taken are multi-fold.  Firstly, and over-archingly, the points cost in game is too steep for what it is: an AV11 flyer.  To be clear, some daemon prince builds are comparable.  The second reason is the all-comers weapon loadout.  This is a problem since it mixes lascannons, heavy bolters, and blacksword missiles.  Individually, there's nothing wrong with any of them.  But the mixture means that the points have gone up and I'd only really want 1, or at most 2 out of those three.  It would have been better to have them as options really.

Speaking of options, the only option on this jetfighter is to switch the lascannons out for an avenger mega bolter.  The avenger megabolter might actually be a better fit really, at least in terms of infantry hunting.  But again, its probably still too many weapons on what is fundamentally a lunch meal for a heldrake.

In conclusion, take it as an obvious concession if you need to. Otherwise, use your Fast Attack slot on better choices like the ravenwing black knights (and others).  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Assault Squad

Although this squad is competing for the fast attack squad with many nice ravenwing options such as the attack squadron and the black knights (even more so if Azrael or Sammael are not present), they're pretty solid still.  Compared to regular marines, they have an extra attack instead of a bolter, and (obviously) a jump pack.  The jump pack can be sacrificed in favour of a rhino or drop pod, but when teamed up with things like the dark shroud, I'm not sure this is needed (unless we're building a rhino wall army, or a drop pod of doom list).

The options for the squad are reasonably attractive: double tap a special weapon (flamer or plasma pistol), various options on the squad sergeant (including the option to make him a veteran for one extra attack).

Here's a few potential builds that are worth thinking about.

Assault Squad, 2 plasma pistols, veteran sergeant with power weapon (140 points)
Plasma is fluffy in Dark Angels, remember?  This squad is really a sniping one followed by assault.  Probably run this near a darkshroud for added protection and sally forth.  Add melta bombs to taste.

Assault Squad, 8 members, 2 flamers, veteran sergeant with thunder hammer (186 points)
A more full squad for horde hunting and general assault goodness.  This is one that I'd be seriously contemplating.

Assault Squad, 10 members, Drop Pod instead of jump packs, 2 flamers, power fist on a veteran sergeant (215 points)
Drop pod of death lists only.  Cute, and combat squad-able means that not every member has to go in the drop pod.  Some can go in different directions to contest objectives.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Ravenwing Darkshroud

And we have a winner here ladies and gentlemen.  And that's not something I say too often.  Expect to see as many of these in Dark Angels armies as you might Heldrakes in Chaos Space Marines.

When it comes down to it, the Darkshroud is an enhanced land speeder.  Sure, its flimsy with its 2 hull points and AV=10 all around.  But that's not why Dark Angels armies will be taking it.  Rather, its utility comes off its power to grant stealth to nearby units and +1 combat resolution (if they don't already have that one).

Coupled with its rather low points cost, this flyer is going to be amazing on the battlefield, particularly when supporting ravenwing, but also dual-wing, deathwing, and almost any other combination of Dark Angels.

There's only one option here: heavy bolter variant (80 points) or assault cannon variant (100 points).  Both are good.  Take either.  Use them.  Go forth and be sneaky.  

Daemons Codex Rumours Commentary

With all the rumours now beginning to break about the forthcoming daemons codex, I'm getting pretty excited! Needless to say there are going to be some things that us daemon players are going to love, and some things that might not be so cool.  I've been hearing things about instability returning ... I always kind of liked that, simply because I'm old school and I remember well the original Realms of Chaos era rules with fondness.  Sure, instability is a drawback, but a nice balancer if it does materialize in the new rules.

On Faeit, there are rules for the new Bloodthirster, Great Unclean One, bloodletters and daemonettes.  The big guys have got a points increase, whilst the little guys go down in points, if we are to believe the rumours.  The new bloodthirster looks wicked awesome stat- and rule-wise.  He's going to be a complete close combat beast.  But the one that really excites me is the Great Unclean One.  Shroud, T8, -1S to incoming, 3+ FNP and 4+ save means that there will not be much in the game that can reliably down him every time.  Balancing this is (of course) slow and purposeful.  But I don't mind S&P so much these days compared to 5th.  Bloodletters seem to be getting more attacks through Rage, whilst daemonettes seem to be getting less, albeit at increased strength. I think the rumoured points costs are a little high considering the relative downgrading they already had due to 6th edition.  But hey, if the daemons codex turns out to be nicely balanced, then I won't mind so much.

What is yet unanswered is the rumours about deployment: the days of daemonic assault / deep strike may alledgedly be over, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the army as a whole plays and what resonances there will be in the new codex to build a new army around.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Ravenwing Black Knights

For the simple fact that they're packing plasma, I think these guys can be great.  But there's much more to them than the plasma talon (twin linked 18" range plasma guns essentially): the S+1 rending attacks are nothing to be sneezed at, coupled with everything that we've come to expect from more generic ravenwing assault squadrons, such as teleport homers, save that the options are much more limited.

The options themselves are only four in number: more bikes, a grenade launcher, a power weapon and the good old melta bombs.

For the power weapon, there might be a temptation to replace the corvus hammer with a power lance.  I think this could be quite viable as the ravenwing knights should be getting the charge everytime in the hands of a good player.  Supported by the corvus hammers elsewhere in the unit, I don't see this as a big loss really.  Melta bombs can be good, but obviously situational.  The grenade launcher is interesting with its ability to launch stasis, rad charges, frag and krak.  The rad charge will reduce the toughness of opponents by 1 for the duration of the turn.  This could be incredible against S5 corvus hammers to be honest.  So I'm rather tempted by these.

Lets look at a couple of builds:

Ravenwing Black Knights, 1 ravenwing grenade launcher (126 points)
Strictly a support option, albeit a rapidly moving and annoying one!  Do they fit in land raiders?  I think they can -- that could be an interesting option!

Ravenwing Black Knights, 6 members, 2 ravenwing grenade launchers, 1 power lance, melta bombs (269 points)
I think ten models is probably overkill, so I've gone for 6 here. With 6 members, this squad is small enough to zip around the place, and large enough to be truly scary against the right opposing unit.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Ravenwing Support Squadron

The land speeder is a main-stay of various flavours of rapid space marine forces.  I think they're great, so long as you acknowledge that they're going to be pretty flimsy.  With the deepstrike rule, and appropriate ground support, they can be fantastic.  Taken in pairs, they offer excellent possibilities for hunting specific squads (e.g. multi-melts attacks against tanks; assault cannons against troops).  In groups of four, they're a bit more noticeable and more of a threat (and therefore attract more firepower to take their flimsy frames down).  Hence there's a balancing act, a tension even, between how many to take, and what weapons they're going to be armed with.

Here's a few builds to think about:

Ravenwing support squadron (2 land speeders), 2 multi-meltas (120 points)Go forth and hunt tanks.  I like this set-up: small enough to not warrant the first incoming volley; dangerous enough to cause problems.

Ravenwing support squadron (5 members), all armed with heavy flamers (250 points)
Entertaining against hordes, but fragile and bound to take incoming firepower and therefore also can act as a fire-magnet!

Ravenwing support squadron (3 members), all typhoon pattern with assault cannons (240 points)
Cute, but probably better ways of doing this.  Even if I replaced these with missile launchers, I still feel I'd sooner take a devastator squad.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Ravenwing Attack Squadron

The first of the fast attack choices is the Ravenwing Attack Squadron.  The points costings are very appealing for this squad and with Sammael or Azrael, these guys become troops and will be forming the core of a Ravenwing strategy (or dual-wing strategy).

What makes these guys appealing?  Well, the first thing that a player cannot go past is the teleport homer on each bike.  With this, the squadron will be calling down deathwing terminators and others to come to the fray where they are needed.  They also have a neat combination of special rules (stubborn, scouts, grim resolve, hit/run) which will make them good for guerrilla tactics. To be clear, I don't see these guys as "bait".  Rather, they are the swift tip of the blade.  Ready to support other units (and call them down) where needed and ready to re-position in an instant to address threats quickly.  As such, they're not so much a front line unit, but a support unit.  That said, the toughness = 5 will keep them alive a little longer (supposing the opposition is not using too much poisoned weaponry).

Interestingly, the squadron can add an attack bike for added support, and a land speeder.  Clearly this can ease the tension if ravenwing is only a fast attack choice (in the absence of Sammael / Azrael), but it can add a neat extra dimension for tactics regardless.

There are so many choices to make with this squad, but ultimately they're limited by maximal numbers in the squad.  Here's a few sample build for consideration, Apocalypse excesses, and oddities...

Ravenwing attack squadron, 2 melta guns, combi-melta, melta bombs, attack bike with multi-melta (170 points)
Well, not much subtlety about the purpose of this squad: plenty of melta for tactical deployment and rapid movement.

Ravenwing attack squadron, 6 members, 2 plasma guns, land speeder typhoon with missile launcher (266 points)
I like the double plasma plasma possibilities here and might be tempted to add a combi-plasma as well for first turn antics.  The land speeder provides a bit of support in the form of its typhoon missile launcher.

Ravenwing attack squadron, 2 flamers, 1 combi-flamer, ravenwing attack bike (145 points)
Not quite sure how I feel about this.  Perhaps if you know your facing endless tyranid gaunts, its going to be grand.  Otherwise, I don't think this one will be taken much.  Flamers on the squadron are just not that fabulous.

Ravenwing attack squadron (80 points)
Yes -- a naked squad.  The purpose?  The teleport homers.  Sneak in to position and don't go looking for a fight until the support has come down where you want it.  Then use it to claim objectives.  You're not looking to engage here.  If you are, use hit and run as soon as possible to escape.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Winterfell by a 3D printer

I caught this "print" on blastr a few days ago.  What we have here is a 3D printer created model of Winterfell by Daniel Ammann, executive VP of R&D for u-blox (Switzerland).  


3D printing is a (relatively) new technology that has a lot of people quite excited in the tabletop hobby. In short, it promises to put the design and manufacturing power of miniatures in to the consumers hands.  I think we're still in the early days at the moment to be honest.  A lot of the prints that I see look a little odd around the edges - like they haven't quite been cast well, or flashes of excess resin hasn't been trimmed (or trimmed too much), or mis-cast, or something.  But the reason that this particular print caught my attention is that it is the first one I've seen in a while that looks quite convincing for what it is.  

That lead me to think that a tile narrative game (cf. Mighty Empires, Planetary Empires) could be printed well using this technology -- one could readily imagine a Westeros inspired set of tiles to base a narrative campaign off of.  The future of this technology is exciting for the tabletop, but I do wonder what impact it'll have on companies like Games Workshop.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Drop Pod

Rounding off the trio of dedicated transports is the drop pod.  Used since at least the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras, the drop pods land the troops where they need to be.  Taken as a single unit ensures that the required pod drops on turn 1.  Taking more will result in some not coming down on turn one.  I'd suggest odd numbers of drop pods on that basis.

There are a couple of options here: the deathwind launcher, or the locator beacon.  Note that they do not get access to the vehicle equipment chart like the rhino or razorback.

The deathwind launcher is a nice large S5 splat that can be very useful.  With an AP of 12 all round, such drop pods can cause significant headaches.  I once saw an army at a tournament that consisted of two halves: one half was quite "ordinary" (at least in the sense of troops, HQ, etc.), and the other half of drop pods, each equipped with a deathwind launcher.  The deathwind launchers dropped in the enemies backline and caused significant casualties, as well as impaired movement for opposing tanks quite effectively.  Seriously: this tactic can be completely awesome.  I'm actually surprised it hasn't come up more often in 6th edition really.  It tackles both infantry (through large pie plates) and tanks (through obstruction) in a cheeky way.  I'd certainly welcome feedback on this idea - even army lists - if anyone out there runs such a list, or has encountered it before.  (aside: it didn't work well against me, as I was playing daemons - lol - but it *did* work well against more traditional armies).

The locator beacon is helpful for creating a forward point if the army is highly deep-strike orientated, but many other units in the game also give this option.

I'd therefore consider two builds: (a) a naked drop pod for 35 points; or (b) a drop pod armed with a deathwind launcher for 50 points.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Razorback

The second dedicated transport (following on from the rhino) is the razorback.

This guy swaps out some transport capacity for extra weaponry.  And therein is the choice of how to build this tank.  There are plenty of options: twin linked heavy bolters, heavy flamers, assault cannons, lascannons, or a las cannon and twin linked plasma guns.

Ultimately, this choice comes down to play-style and what the commander feels the battlefield role should be for the razorback in question.  If you know in advance you're facing tyranid hordes, then the twin linked heavy flamers or twin linked heavy bolters might be nice.  The twin-linked assault cannons (and the rest) are where it starts to cost you to upgrade.  The assault cannons are great for laying down a wealth of suppressing fire whilst possibly sitting on top of an objective.  The lascannons are there to take down heavy armour reliably and occasionally fliers.  The interesting option is to take the twin linked plasma guns and the lascannon.  This gives ultimate tactical flexibility, but the weapons are not well matched (in terms of range), but the plasma could be fluffy.

For the set-up, I'd be tempted to take an extra storm bolter from the armoury to improve the chances that the primary weapon survives.  Extra armour might be nice as well if the the razorback is also acting as an important transport.  I'd be thinking about several razorbacks if I were taking them (i.e. not one on its own) to give target saturation.

Here's a pair potential builds ... there are lots of variations beyond these of course:

Razorback with twin linked assault cannons, storm bolter (80 points)
Pricey for an AV=11 vehicle, to be sure.  But a couple of these can provide the required target saturation and opposing firepower to take on many and varied opponents, including some light tanks.

Razorback with twin linked heavy flamers, extra armour, hunter killer missile (75 points)
Fire off the missile on turn 1 at a large tyranid or ork target.  Charge in to the hordes with the heavy flamers.  Disgorge the (shooty?  assaulty?) occupants and finish them (or provide a road bump!).


Dark Angels Review: Rhino

For the sake of completeness, I will be reviewing the dedicated transport options for the Dark Angels codex as well as all the other major entries in the army list.

First up, the classic rhino.  Unlike its chaos analogue, this chassis comes with a storm bolter.  The repair rule can be useful once in a while if you ever remember to use it, and like all vehicles, the rhino gets access to the Dark Angels Vehicle Equipment chart.  Said chart, however, only contains 4 entries: dozer blades, another storm bolter, extra armour, or a hunter-killer missile.  All of these options are quite viable at some level (i.e. none are ghastly enough to think: never ever!).

Personally, I find hunter-killer missiles are never able to hit their target.  Maybe that's because the die gods frown on their usage? But I know other players have had good mileage with them.  The dozer blade is good for ensuring that you can get to the destination in the most direct route when required (and quickly).  Best to take these on everything if you're going to take them -- that way, you build up your play style (in my opinion).  Otherwise don't take them at all on your rhinos and live with it.  The second storm bolter provides further firepower (when necessary), but I think its real use is with other vehicles to give secondary options for weapons being blown up.  The extra armour is nice on rhinos that have precious cargo and need to get places.

So, here's a few potential builds that I like.

Rhino (35 points)
Seriously: a naked rhino.  Take several.  Take them on every squad you can and form walls of the things!  They can certainly act as your own portable scenery given their price tag and don't have to act as transports in the slightest.

Rhino, hunter-killer missile (45 points)
I kind of like this one, but if I take it, I'd be taking it everywhere (much like I build every chaos rhino with a havoc launcher).  The missile gives a tactical advantage that should be used at the first opportunity (prior to firing any devastator squad).  Rinse and repeat.

Rhino, extra armour, dozer blade (50 points)
Roll up with the marines on board that need to be elsewhere (objective hunting?) and get there in one piece.  Maybe.  Could be a fluffy choice for the more armoured orientated successor chapters (if there are any in your imagination).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

iGaming

Today, I'm posting about a new concept that came to my inbox from the originators: iGaming.  In short, iGaming is aiming to produce a free digitally-published series of books on gaming (Tabletop wargaming, digital games (xbox, DS etc.) and trading card games -- M:tG, etc.).  A short intro to the concept can be found in their YouTube promotion:



What stands out about this project for me personally is that it is a not-for-profit venture: this is quite rare these days.  But they need help: programmatic, artistic, and, funding.  More information, and the kickstarter info, can be found here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/igaming-digital-books.

The full background is repeated below.

So what it is iGaming?
iGaming is the brainchild of a small group of people who have been heavily involved in gaming for many years. We plan for iGaming to produce a free digitally published series of books on gaming! What do we define as gaming? Well, we’ve grouped gaming into three categories…

Tabletop gaming (Gamesworkshop, Privateer Press, Flames of War etc.)
TCG gaming (MTG, Pokemon, Yugioh etc.)
Digital gaming (Pokemon DS series, COD, WOW etc.)

But iGaming is more than just writing a series of books on gaming, it is designed to be a community hub, while the guides will be written primarily by myself and my team (well, me and 3 others…) we want the community to get involved, to offer up bits and pieces to include and to offer us support…

So what about these books?!
These will all be absolutely FREE (with the exception of the printed books, these you’ll have to pay for postage, but that’s it!) – I’d like to make it clear here that we are a non-profit group; we are not doing this to raise any sort of money for ourselves, just to give something back to the community!
Ah, back to the reason we’re here, the books! We want to create a series of books on gaming which will be published digitally, on the iPad (iBooks) on Android (ePUB) as PDFs and as printed copies.
As far as the books go, we want to produce one for each element of each system of each type of gaming… For example we want to produce a tactics book for each army of each Tabletop Gaming system, we want to produce a walkthrough for digital games and we want to produce guides for TCGs (little bit harder to break down how we’ll divide the books due to the different nature of each game system).
Each book will be…
-          Greater than 100 pages in length
-          Full of interactive features (videos, pictures, interactive HTML widgets - so much we want to pack in!)
-          Be useful and tested! We will have a ‘beta group’ who will test and review our books first, so when we do publish them, they will be of a high quality!
-          Regulated by you! Yes, you read that right, as these books are being sold for free and for the sole purpose of giving something back to the community we want you to shape the way they are made, you want more of one type of book being produced, then fine, that’s what we’ll do!

There must be a catch; you can’t be giving away all these books for FREE?!
Nope, no catch, everything we produce will be free (minus any shipping costs if you order a physical product) but we do need some help getting started…

Help us get this project started!
Like is said, we need some help getting started, while we have most of the things we need to do this project, we are lacking a few things
-          An iMac (without this we can’t create any iBooks, or add art to any books of any format)
-          An artist (you do want high quality pictures and illustrations in your books don’t you?!)
-          A programmer (while we all have computer knowledge, this is mainly in the book creation department rather than in the programing side; we need someone to write us a few HTML widgets)
Cost wise this equates to £2000 ($3000) ideally we want to raise more, as this would let us give out more printed copies of books, buy higher quality equipment etc. Basically the more money we can raise, the faster we can produce higher quality books!

So why should I donate?
In conclusion, if you donate you will be helping us kick-start a massive project, one which will provide resources for, and benefit you and the entire gaming community! We’re not asking much, any small donation will go a long way to helping us achieve our goal!
If you can’t give then we ask that you help us out by sharing this page; help us get our idea to as many people as we can!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Dreadnought

The humble dreadnought makes a welcome appearance in the elites section of the Dark Angels codex.  Although I feel it will be outshone by other selections (Deathwing Terminators, Deathwing Knights), it still has a role to play. For a reasonable price, the dreadnought is still a vehicle with a solid weapon load out and (unlike the chaos analogue) is easy to point and click in the right direction. I know many will argue that they're straight forward to take out in close combat, and maybe that's true for certain setups, but in the current infantry based meta, they can be deadly against squads that are not ready for them (or worse: can't hurt them).

There are many options for the dreadnought, ranging from venerable to make it extra-hardy, through to their weapon load outs and deployment tactics (i.e. drop pod).  Below are a few builds that I liked:

Venerable Dreadnought, 2 twin-linked autocannons, extra armour (155 points)
A prolific shooter of S7 casings, this guy is a great support option for the back to middle field, adding some much needed firepower to (perhaps) a Deathwing team, and can reliably(!?) stick around for a while.  Ditch the extra armour to save on points if needed.  Think about an assault cannon instead?

Dreadnought, twin-linked heavy flamer, replace storm bolter with heavy flamer, drop pod dedicated transport (150 points)
For your anti-horde needs, a flaming dreadnought inbound for trouble at the heart of the enemy.  Flame away and then enter the fray with the power fist.

Dreadnought, plasma cannon (110 points)
Look, I just like plasma cannons on dreadnoughts, okay?  And its fluffy now, because Dark Angels have all the retro-tech and like to abuse and use plasma lots.  But more seriously, the template provides some needed low AP back up for the army if it is primarily regular power armour based.  Move up the board to threaten infantry and others with the power fist as required.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Deathwing Knights

I've already reviewed Death Wing Terminators when I started the DA reviews, so today, we're up to Death Wing Knights.

Death Wing Knights are straight forward (i.e. few options), if a little un-subtle!  The best way to think about them are as enhanced close combat terminators.  They all get +1AP against chaos space marines due to the "bane of the traitor" special rule.  But, the smite mode of the mace of absolution give the unit a unique alpha-strike potential that must not be overlooked.  Multiple S=10 attacks at AP2 or AP1 is one of the best in the entire game for non-monstrous creatures.  Perhaps its strictly better since there are more attacks in a 5 man unit than might come from a single monstrous creature?  Given the terminator armour and the storm shield, I think this logic holds even against a greater daemon.  And for me, that justifies the cost of this unit.  But having said that, we must ensure that they get said alpha strike.  The best way to do this seems like using a land raider transport rather than deep striking in.

But if we are deep striking in, then the fortress of shields rule seems all too easy to arrange.  Try taking that down in a hurry!  Additional bonuses include the precision strike rule (very nice!) and hammer of wrath.  Combined with the usual inner circle rules, this is one squad that can be terrific if utilized well!

Here are a couple of builds to contemplate:

8 Deathwing Knights, Land raider crusader with Deathwing vehicle upgrade (635 points)
Roll up, use the assault ramp, hit with oodles of S10 attacks.  Nasty!  And a points value to match two upgraded bloodthirsters of Khorne as well.  Ouch.

5 Deathwing Knights (235 points)
Yes, seriously: a naked, non-upgraded squad.  Deep striking in to action with their brethren.  Remember to keep them in base to base to activate the fortress of shields wall.  And then next turn, start taking things down.

10 Deathwing Knights (465 points)
Its just like the previous entry, but bigger.  Pity this unit doesn't have combat squads, or this would be actually tempting!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Horus Heresy Betrayal: FAQ

The FAQ for Betrayal came out recently from Forge World.  I'm very happy it did as well!  I wrote to Forge World a while ago asking them one of the very questions that was covered in the FAQ -- that of the allies chart being non-symmetric (page 185).

I first noticed this when I sat down with the chart and found it a bit tough to read (the symbols are all skulls, of course!, and the colours - which are the only point of differentiation in the chart - seem a bit similar to my eyes).  So I decided to try to make my own chart in excel and colour code them something different.  I never completed it because I saw many asymmetries.  Here's the list:

Dark Angels and Death Guard are listed as both Fellow Warriors and Distrusted Allies;
Iron Warriors and Ultramarines are listed as both Fellow Warriors and Distrusted Allies;
Iron Warriors and Sons of Horus are listed as both Fellow Warriors and Distrusted Allies;
White Scars and Death Guard are listed as both Fellow Warriors and Distrusted Allies;
White Scars and Sons of Horus are listed as both Sworn Brothers and Distrusted Allies;
Night Lords and Death Guard are listed as both Sworn Brothers and Fellow Warriors;
Blood Angels and World Eaters are listed as both Fellow Warriors and Distrusted Allies;
Blood Angels and Death Guard are listed as both Fellow Warriors and Distrusted Allies;
Blood Angels and Sons of Horus are listed as both Sworn Brothers and Fellow Warriors;
Iron Hands and Sons of Horus are listed as both Fellow Warriors and Distrusted Allies;
Alpha Legion and Imperial Army are listed as both Sworn Brothers and Fellow Warriors.

The explanation for this is natural: the armies / factions have different views of each other.  Of course!  Why didn't I see this?

Anyhow, there are also other parts to the FAQ that I found interesting, chief amongst them are the designers notes that explicitly state that they are balanced with respect to 40k codexes.  Well, the exact words are "a fair fight", but they do note that certain units in 30k are more expensive than their 40k cousins: especially those with the stubborn rule.  But there's also a few things cheaper I guess, and a few things that simply don't exist in 40k!  That said, they do make it clear that the Lords of War (including Primarchs) should not be used in regular games!

So, has anyone actually used a 30k army against a 40k army out there?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Company Veterans Squad

In many ways, the company veterans squad is just like the command squad.  Except cheaper, with the option to put in more models, and with combat squads.  But, not every model can take most things, unlike the command squad.  So there's choices to be made here.  What battlefield role should a company veterans squad take?  Tankhunter, close combat, objective guarding, or something else?  With the extra attack in their profile versus a tactical squad, the company veterans seem to appeal to a close combat orientated squad.  But there's plenty of options.  The only negative is that they're competing against Death Wing for force organization slots if there's no Belial or Azrael to lead the army.  Let's have a look at a few builds and see what we can come up with.

Company veterans squad, 1 multi melta, 1 melta gun, 3 combi-meltas, mounted in a drop pod (175 points)
Drop, and take care of a pesky land raider.  Job done.  Now sell your live dearly against the contents of the land raider until your buddies can mop up properly.  Take melta bombs to taste.

Company veterans squad (10 members), 3 power fists, 3 melta bombs, 1 flamer, 1 melta gun, 1 missile launcher with flakk, mounted in a rhino (345 points)
Combat squad them so that the missile launcher and 5 regular members function as a mini-devastator squad (see a similar meme on the Dark Angels tactical squad) and place the power fist guys with the flamer and melta in the rhino for a race to some melee glory!  Add armour to the rhino to taste.  With 3 power fists, there's little they can't take on, assuming they survive until the I=1 step.

Company veterans squad, 5 storm shields, 3 power weapons, 1 flamer (190 points)
With a 3+ invulnerable save, this squad is a mini (but not quite) terminator squad.  The flamer is there to discourage charges against the squad.  Its role can be variable: head strong and offensive (purchase a razor back or drop pod), or defensive (sit on an objective and see what can dislodge you).  A bit pricey though, and terminators do do it better (but what do you expect for 30 points cheaper?)!

Company veterans, 3 combi plasmas, 1 plasma gun, 1 plasma cannon, 5 melta bombs (175 points)
Sit in a crater / cover somewhere and snipe at anything that comes close.  Bikes inparticular are a nice target for these boys.  And terminators.  And, well, most things that require a bit of low AP weaponry to take them down.  Just be careful not to blow yourself up by getting hot!  Replace everything with flame orientated weapons and mount in a rhino even for some anti-horde duty -- much fun!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dark Angels Review: Scout Squad

Scouts move from elites in the previous codex to regular troops in the new Dark Angels codex.  I think this is where they truly belong.  Having them in the elites slot always struck me as a trifle odd: they're new recruits, so hardly elite yet!

In the new codex, they're one of the few squads that lack the Dark Angels special rule "Grim Resolve". Presumably because they haven't spent enough time in the "grimdark" yet?  Hence "And They Shall Known No Fear" works as normal for Dark Angels scouts.  With combat squads, and all the regular other special rules, scouts are competing hard for their spot against the regular tactical squad I think (and that's before we even acknowledge that we can have deathwing and ravenwing entries as troops with the right HQ selected).  That said, there are some perks: free sniper rifles and quality camo cloaks can add to a range of shooting weaponry that will add extra dakka to the Dark Angels basis.  If only they could buy a teleport homer, then perhaps that'd push them over the edge to be up there on the spend-points-on list.

Here's a few ideas on some potential builds:

5 scouts, 5 sniper rifles, 5 camo cloaks (70 points)
A really basic squad to sit in some scenery and snipe away all game.  Preferably whilst sat on top of an objective.

5 scouts, 1 missile launcher, 1 veteran scout sergeant with melta bombs and power weapon (100 points)
They're like a mini tactical squad, only worse (stat line and save wise).  Otherwise, they're a cheaper, slightly nasty and prickly surprise to launch on an unsuspecting foe.

10 scouts, 1 veteran scout sergeant with thunder hammer, 1 heavy bolter (168 points)
A sneaky squad with a thunder hammer!  Surprise!  A little bit for laughs and giggles this one.  Combat squad them and have the heavy bolter remain in the opposite side to the thunder hammer.  Perhaps even take sniper rifles for the other 4 scouts with him.  Outflank the thunder hammer and hope to survive long enough to bring it to bear on choice rear-field armour.

Mantic Sale

This one might have gone under the radar, but I thought I'd briefly highlight that Mantic games is having a Santa's spring cleanout sale (but its approaching autumn Down Under!).  

The thing that has always struck me about Mantic is their prices.  Although the detail of the miniatures may or may not be comparable to other companies, the sheer number of miniatures one can get per UK pound is astonishing.  Even better in a sale (now why don't Games Workshop ever hold online sales?).  Consider their sale item, the Undead Warhost.  52 miniatures (plus a war machine, plus various stickers and two cases) for UKP 14.99.  That's at worst, 29 UK pence per miniature!  In this day and age, that is completely mind-blowingly astonishing!  (which is why I wanted to share news of this sale!).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sequestered Industries