Mymeara Eldar!

In an effort to at least pretend to practice what I’m preaching, I thought I’d start posting up some details of current hobby plans for 8th Edition 40K, and take a look of ways of approaching it under both the Cheap Gamer and Lazy Mini Painter philosophies.

I managed to snag a whole batch of Eldar from Doc Bungle which were partially painted in Mymeara colours, and I had already decided that Eldar (or at least Aeldari across the factions) would be my choice for 8th edition, so I’m going to start with these, and build up to a chosen list.  I’m looking to start for a trial game around 50-65PL (probably the upper end of that, as my opponent will be fielding thousand sons and under 65PL is very hard to actually get anything like a test army in!).

I’ll then build to a 100PL list.  At that point … Well, I might go higher, or I might start on a diffferent faction.

We have painted realistic 71 power level:

HQ

Avatar of Khaine (13PL)

Fast Attack

6 Warp Spiders for 10PL (or a unit of 5 for 5PL)

Hornet (9PL)

Troops

10 Dire Avengers (6PL) 

Elites

6 Shadow Spectres (19PL or 5 for 10PL)

Flyer

Hemlock Wraithfighter (10PL)

Heavy Support

Fire Prism (9PL)

Dedicated Transport

Wave Serpent (9PL)

 It makes sense to extend the army and expand out up the detachments to gain a few extra CP!  The next stage is to add another HQ, 2 more troops unit and move up to a Battalion detachment.  We might then look at another HQ, and go for a second detachment if the battalion doesn’t give enough flexibility.

Asurmen (9PL) and 2 squads of 5 Dire Avengers (6PL) would get us into Battalion territory without needing to buy any more troops, and take us to 86PL.

An Autarch (5PL), and 3 warlocks (9PL) would take us all the way to 100PL, and finishing off the remaining 2 warlocks and a farseer would give us some options (up to 112PL).  And a unit of Guardian Defenders (4PL) would take it to 116PL 

Lazy Mini Painter

With our targets in mind, how can we get there the easy way!  Well, a simple spray blue would give us a great undercoat for all those models.  Some artic blue on the plates with a little lighter highlighting, some yellow soulstones, white helmets and gun metal weapons, a simple wash, some quick basing!  We’re going to try to turn them out as fast as possible!

 Cheap Gamer

Well, from a cheap gamer perspective:

  • I’m using all models I already have.  I don’t need to buy any more for this project yet
  • I’m using a macragge blue spray I already have.  It’s the easy option, but I don’t need to spend any more either. Win win!
  • I will need some paints, but I’ve identified a particular range of paints.  I know exactly what I need to get – basically the mymeara arctic and turquoise colours.  I’m also using lazy options to paint them, so reducing numbers of layer paints and things I  biggest expense is I may need to buy GW brand paints for some colours if I want to paint some in store.

And so, it begins!
 

Alternative Models for Eldar in 2017!

Well, unfortunately Space Elves or Eldar are still struggling for models in 2017, though there are rumours of new troops from GW later this year!  There are a few great third party alternatives for a few units though!

Iona Starkiller – Farseer alternative

From HF Minis

Space Elves Bikes Unit – Jet bikes alternative

From Spellcrow

Spellcrow also offer conversion Eldar heads, biker torsos, and defence line parts

 

Warp Stalkers Unit – Howling Banshees alternative

From Chapter House Studios

Chapter House also do conversion kits for Farseer and Warlock jetbikes from GW standard jet bikes.

Light Side Arahnide – Warp Spiders alternative

From Wargame Exclusive

 

New 40K – whats the fuss?

I thought in light of the preorder going live tomorrow for 40K, I’d put up a blog post to hopefully foster some common understanding of why the reactions to the new edition of 40K vary so much.  The Warhammer Community has been fantastic, but their posts are focussed around nothing but the positives, can’t take into account the unofficial leaks, and don’t address some of the feelings around the news.

I’m going to look at some of the positions people have taken, and honestly, there is no 100% right or wrong.  A tiny change for one person can entirely break the game for someone else!

Although I don’t like generalising too much, there are a few main positions:

  1. New 40K is going to be the BEST 40K EVAHHHHH!
  2. I like the rules stuff I hear, but some of the leaked lists really worry me.
  3. I like the rules stuff I hear, but some of the fluff changes really worry me.
  4. I really don’t like some of the rule changes, but I’ll give it a go.
  5. I hate it all!  I will burn my models!
  6. Why the hell are we talking about 8th edition and not playing the best version, the original Rogue Trader?

Your gaming situation

Before I get into each of the positions, and why maybe we should be a bit more patient with people taking them, I think its worth a quick talk about what edition changes in general do mean to some people.  The type of gaming you do really scales the level of impact an edition change has.

I play mostly with close friends.  If I don’t like a new version of a game, my friends probably won’t like it either, and we’ll just play the old version.  If its generally good with a glitch or two, we’ll happily house rule stuff.  I can watch a new edition come in and  it doesn’t particularly concern me too much.  I don’t tend to go to tournaments, or play pick up games in store.  I play how I like to play.

Not everyone has this luxury.  If I don’t have any mates nearby who like to play, I have to play in store or at tournaments.  That means, yes, if you want to play at all, you have to play the current version of the game, or you walk away from playing entirely, and the latter options means all the time and money you poured into your hobby may as well have been thrown away.  It also means any recent purchases based on the last version might now be rubbish, and that tends to be more of an issue with strangers in tournaments than rocking up to a fluffy game with someone you’ve known for 20 years.  They genuinely are going to feel they’ve lost something they value, and it makes taking advice like “Just wait and see” a lot harder.

Most people are somewhere in the middle – they play mostly with a group of mates or at a club, but play the odd game in store or with new club members and attend a few tournaments.  They’re more emotionally invested in the new version than someone who just plays with mates, but its not going to be a total nuke to their hobby if they don’t want to play it either.

Your personal situation

Beyond the way you’re involved in a game, people’s personal situations also play a part in how seriously they react to a major change.  If you are moving to a new area, or heading off to uni, dealing with a hobby change at the same time is far harder than it is for someone in a settled job and home.  

If someone sounds like a whiny kid complaining about changes … well, they might be actually be a kid dealing with massive physical changes, trying to keep up with enormous amounts of new information at school, and now trying to absorb huge changes to their hobby as well, without decades of experience in social interaction that buffers the longer term members of the gaming community.  That doesn’t make it right for them to be an arse, but it certainly can explain it.

Others suffer from physical or mental conditions that make dealing with change harder.  The fixed ruleset means that some people with conditions like autism can sometimes use the system as a framework to interact with others, but they are uniquely placed to find this sort of edition change difficult.

On the other side of a social media screen in particular, you don’t necessarily know the person posting their complaints.  Rather than jump to the conclusion it’s someone whining for the sake of it, either respond with positive enthusiasm, or simply don’t engage.  You aren’t obligated to buy into someone else issue.

New 40K will be awesome.  No worries, No doubt.

I’m a bit of a sceptical chap in life generally, so I struggle a bit with this point of view, to be honest.  There’s nothing wrong with being hopeful and positive, of course!    I certainly hope 40K is awesome.  But some people have taken the stance that it definitely is, even before seeing the rules.  

That’s cool.  I think everyone to some degree expected a blend of the older 5-7th era rules with the new AoS model, and people who liked AoS and liked the older 40K are generally in pretty safe territory here!

There’s also the fact that frankly the current models are some of the best ever in many ways (Grognards may argue about the character imbued into the models – I do love rogue trader metals, even if the current plastics are so much easier to convert!), and the plastic materials some of the easiest to work with.  If you like the GW range as is, and love the Gathering Storm triumvirates, you are on pretty safe ground with the direction the model line will take.  Lots of people just paint, and for those people the models will be as good if not better than they are now – the new primaris marines and death guard are pretty damn nice.

If you have doubts, though, its sometimes hard to express them to someone taking a position that the game will be flawless and amazing, and hates whiners who disagree!  I’d ask people who are this enthusiastic about the new version to express the reasons they are looking forward to the new version, not just blanket “Its gonna be great”.  People will go along with specific reasons.  Get people excited for the positives! Blanket statements can polarise things, especially with a game – what people find fun in  a game can be pretty subjective.  I enjoy mathematics.  Reducing the calculations in a game will probably make it more fun for 90% of the people out there – I’ll tend to miss them!

Cool Rules, But whats up with XYZ in the leaked army lists?

Well, until we see the indexes in person and in full, and the main rulebook to fully understand how keywords will tie everything together, I wouldn’t worry too much.  In addition, these are just the holding lists, designed to replicate what you could do in 7th edition.  New codexes will be coming out to really show how the armies will be going forward, and you’ll have to wait for those to really see how armies are going to move forward, not just adapt the models to the new rules.

There do seem to be a few glitches in some of the new model rules, I’m not going to deny that.  My personal favourite is that the only one in an army seems to be missing of the leaked updated celestine, so I may be forced to field all three of mine simultaneously in an outpouring of pure filth ūüėČ

Generally, though, the armies have some more flexible keyword options for taking cross faction armies in detachments, which is cool.  Some depth has been lost with the holding index books – legion customisations for chaos aren’t as deep, and Imperial Agents seem to be a bit screwy unless there is some unlocked or yet to be FAQed updates on how to take you old inquisition war bands in  the modern transports.

Chaos players, though, are likely to feel a bit upset.  They just got a legions book with some real depth, and much of that may have gone until the codexes drop.

I can understand why some people aren’t overjoyed with the leaks, but I think we need to see them in full, in context with the rules, before we can really jump to conclusions … and even then the full codexes are going to reintroduce a lot of the depth that by necessity is going to be skimmed over in the initial lists.

Particularly if you don’t game with friends though, and only game in store or at tournaments, the quirks in the list aren’t something you can overlook or house rule.  If people are in that boat especially, be patient with them – it can mean its going to be months before they can get a fun game again even if they love the general rules!

Rocking Rules, but does it feel 40k?

And by feel 40k, we mean the fluff, the storyline, the overarching narrative.  This is something that causes a lot of confusion when being talked about online.  One person is talking about the story in the universe, while another is talking about narrative play (where you tell more of a story through the battle than a random skirmish).  More narrative play doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall feel of the game universe is better for fluffy players!

A Primarch is back running the Imperium!  A huge rift has opened up, splitting the galaxy!  Orks are heading for Armageddon as their ancestral capital of Ullanor (or because there’s a big fight there.  Hey, they’re Orks!).  Multiple Daemon Primarchs are running around on the Chaos side!  Abbadon has broken Cadia into pieces and unified the forces of Chaos.  Tau are a bit quiet.  Blood Angels and their successors are facing (or will have faced, by the new fluff launch) the Tyranids of Leviathan!  More hive fleets are on the move!  Fenris has been corrupted and pretty much all the potential recruits for the Wolves have gone.  The Iron Hands homeworld was near the now expanded Eye of Terror!  Whole new lines of war machines are launching, tens of thousands of new Primaris marines are running about, Custodes are abandoning Terra and roaming the galaxy on the Primarch’s order, and Sisters of Silence have wandered up from the basements of the Imperial Palace to see what the fuss is about!

Now, many people reading that will be going “OMG!!! It sounds amazeballs!”  Others will be reading it and thinking “But that’s not the 40K I loved.  How comes a tech priest has done better than the Emperor and Primarch in engineering new marines?  Why would Orks care about a particular world?  Thats not what they do!  I loved the resistance of Cadia and had loads of guard, and they just got blown up!  Why have my Space Wolves been turned into dull Primaris Marines?  If Primaris Marines have been re-engineered so magnificently, why on earth didn’t they increase the pool of recruits and fit them to women too?  And if all these production facilities existed, why weren’t we rolling out loads more older tanks and conquering the galaxy pre Primarch?”

I’m pretty relaxed, myself.  We’ve seen good and bad bits of fluff come and go, and I’m happy to wait and see how the story comes together and what the terrific Black Library authors pull the disparate threads together into.  But I can also understand why people are a bit worried. 

The biggest concern is that its going to turn all the dials up to 11.  Bigger, more awesome!  Spiky haired super saiyans battle titan sized demons.  And in the process, lose the feel of the tragedy of humanity and a galaxy in general collapse.  Its always had a satirical edge … but most fans hope it doesn’t descend into outright parody.

Again, its very personal taste!  One persons awesome is anothers disaster.  I favour Tolkien type levels of magic, and Hobbits and men standing against the dark.  AoS is a bit much for me, filled with demigods and star warriors, a world where vampire troops struggle to even compete against the god warriors of Sigmar and chaos, and Orks have got monstrous and huge.  Even lizard men bleed magical light as star demons.    But loads of people love that level of magic and epic fantasy!  

AoS is a reasonably fun game – I haven’t really got sucked in as the fluff hasn’t grabbed me, so I can understand those who worry that the same epic feel might break 40k for them.  I’m pretty optimistic though, but again, lets try to stay positive and see what happens with the actual released fluff and the first few novels before we declare its all silly.  And remember we’ve let plenty of loopholes and silliness ride in past editions already.

I really don’t like the sound of some of these rules, but I’ll give it a go

Honestly, these are the people I admire the most!  They’ve looked at the announced rules, are a bit worried about x, y or z, but happy to give it go and make a call then.  These are the ones we should be encouraging, helping over the changes, and gushing about how change x will mean a, b and c will improve to compensate.

If they say they are a bit worried though, don’t label them as whiners, as that  will probably flip them over the edge into the next category.  I’m all about encouraging anyone who will give things a fair go.

I hate it all!  I will burn my models!

Now, if you fall in this camp, at least think of eBaying the models off nice and cheap so I can get a bargain rather than burning them!  

I don’t get this group, in the same way I don’t really get the all in on the new edition people, as until we try something properly, I don’t know how you can really feel that strongly one way or another!

If the changes are so big that you feel you have to quit, well, that is a real shame ūüôĀ  I hate it when people drop out of even part of the hobby.  7th edition is hanging around for the Horus Heresy, and you can easily reuse much of any marine forces for HH games if it came down to it.

Please try to explain your specific breaking point, though, and if you are just indulging in hyperbole now, do expect at least some gentle ribbing when we catch you playing 40k in 6 months time.  And try to have an open mind about the bits that have improved!  I get that if you hate the way the game sounds and not taken by a leaked army list, you might be reluctant to update.  Maybe instead of ranting and rage quitting, you think of it as a bit of a sabbatical until we see more of the fluff and the actual codexes.  Keep options open, don’t burn bridges.  And I hope the rest of the community doesn’t burn the bridges behind you, as thats no good either.

Lets all go play Rogue Trader instead

Deffo a good option.  Man, that edition was great for skirmish stuff, and the random equipment lists and chaos war band rules in Realm of Chaos!  Legendary!  Shadow War Armageddon isn’t actually a million miles away ūüôā

However you want to deal with the edition upgrade, I hope this helps you understand some of the standpoints and worries others have, and helps us all push forward a bit more positively.  If nothing else, I hope it means I cheap eBay bargains rather than seeing gorgeous minis burned!!!!

And I’m always up for a game of Rogue Trader ūüėČ

Painting 101 – Lesson 0 – Picking the models – Practical!

Well, I’m 2 theoreticals in, and not actually made any start at all.  In honour of a hopeful Easter hobby weekend though, I am making a mini start (pun intended), and picking some models to illustrate the concepts I’m discussing.  the final goal is to paint Roboute Guilleman, so that’s one model, but what will our practice ones be?

I’m actually going to do 10 models (including the primarch) in total, but here’s the twist for the other 9.  I’m going to do three more models, but I’m going to do them three times each in different styles to match different armies and concepts.

First off, I’m going to do the plastic Inquisitor Greyfax from the first Triumvirate.  I’m also going to do 2 metal female inquisitors, which I see as similar models in lineage, Greyfax being their spiritual successor.  I’m going to do the armour on all three in the silver and gold of the Greyfax box art, but the robes on the metal Inquisitors will match the 2 armies of sisters of battle I own – green and white respectively.

Second, I’m going to do Canoness Viridya in Resin thrice over.  One version will be an attempt to match the box art/blanche artwork, while the other two will match my sisters armies with white and green on one, and silver and white on the other.

Finally, I’m going to do a new plastic Cypher, as well as two metal Cyphers.  A plastic and metal one will be done to GW imagery, but then the third will be done with a touch more work and made to look like his Inquisitor persona.  I’m thinking I might go silver and gold armour rather than black, and replace the skulls and DA imagery with Inquisition icons.

So why am I doing this?  It should illustrate resin, metal and plastic minis.  It should highlight differences and similarities working with the different models, and show different outcomes to similar starting points!  And the range of techniques should help us prep for the big guy as the finale!

I’m going to revisit this post with some illustrative photos of the models in question, so do check back!

Political Correctness Gone Mad

There was an interesting conversation on twitter lately, and the whole “Should we have female space marines?” conversation came up again.  My feelings are a little complex on the matter.

Lets face it, the whole thing boils down to a fairly casual choice in the 80’s in the fluff, and I hope the gaming scene has moved on at least a little since then.  People argue that the “science” of space marines wouldn’t work … but the science fiction behind it is quite clearly just that – fiction.  Arguing that its “fact” is just silly.  Another argument is that the background has been consistent for 30 years, so we should keep things as is … except it hasn’t.  The Exorcists were originally ladies in the rogue trader rules.  Zoats and Squats have been written out.  Genestealer cults have been, gone, evolved, come back.  Tau appeared.  Necrons appeared as soulless destroyers of life, then turned into Tomb Kings in space pranksters sending pressies to Inquisitors.  C’tan went from unfettered star gods to enslaved avatars.  Every time a batch of new models appear, the fluff is updated, retconned or altered.  Arguing that this bit of fluff is unalterable just sounds like nonsense.  Even without altering anything that happened historically, it would be fairly easy to have one or both of the 2 missing primarchs be female and their knock on legions full of ladies too.  There are options.

As a chap with two little daughters, I’d quite like to get them interested in playing 40K one day, and to be honest, there just aren’t the same powerful female characters in the game for them to look up to.  While a grim dark universe is hardly the place anyone should be looking to learn lessons from in general, there is a fundamental tone that women are less than men when it comes to the game.  You can read books about amazing female Imperial Guard.  You can’t buy the models.  You can read about amazing female Arbites. You can’t buy the models.  Sisters of Battle are normally raised about now, but an army of people who are weaker, worse equipped, wear corsets (or scanty rags if they are naughty), get special powers only through faith in a chap, and are harder and more expensive to buy than marines don’t really level things up.  I love some of the concepts (and have 2 armies of them!), but it doesn’t really level the playing field.  Eldar are thrown up, but there are very few Eldar women available outside of the troop level.  Lilith, Jain Zar, a Succubus, and the new Triumvirate model. There are more male pheonix lords that that alone, and every spiritseer, farseer, warlock, Eldrad, Yriel, Archon, and autarch just tip the scale further.

In some ways I feel the issue is less having to have female space marines, and more a need to have an equivalent powerful force.   It’d absolutely rock if the Astartes were just half of the Emperor’s plan, with implants to augment them physically, with an army of augmented lady psykers and blanks (sisters of silence?) forming the second part of the concept, both sharing some similarities with black carapace interfaces, for example, but their own set of implants and psychic powers, topping the natural born grey knights.  Both strong armies, both stronger fielded together.  Couldn’t hurt.  Women in the guard?  Its there in the fluff.  Heck, producing resin sprues of ladies heads for conversions so people could do what they liked with guard or marines themselves and still turn up to tournaments with a legal army would be enough to keep a lot of people happy.  It’d be a move in the right direction.

Mind you, there are some practical limitations.  At the end of the day, GW is a business, and has to make sales.  If the sales figures of genuinely comparable female to male lines (and I actually can’t think of many easily comparable minis, so its a bit tricky) just aren’t financially viable to run in plastic, then I can’t expect them to go out of business!  It’d be interesting to look at maybe comparing Sisters of Silence to Custodes sales, except the additional forgeworld support for Custodes does skew things towards them already.  The triumvirates have been pretty strong female leads and seem to be flying off the shelves, and Canoness Viridya kept selling out, but special event models are always more popular.  Given the sales of Wyrd malifaux models (and, anecdotally, a larger player base of women there), it doesn’t seem financially unviable from an external standpoint…. and you know, I’d like to be able to one day get my little girls playing rather than Daddy being a bit embarrassed about the fact I can’t buy them an army with strong ladies like them.

I can understand someone playing a historical recreation of waterloo not really wanting half their army to be ladies, as its historically inaccurate.  If you are playing a fictional game, though, there really isn’t any reason why characters can’t be anything the company making them dictates.

My final thought is that every time I hear “political correctness gone mad”, my first thought these days isn’t “Oh god, whats someone else gone over the top with now?”  My first thought is generally “so what group don’t you give a crap about then?”.  Sometimes people do go over the top – it’d be pushing things a wee bit far to demand the entire 40K universe is rewritten to exclude men entirely, and the recent PETA request to demand that tiny plastic models don’t wear plastic fur, my word!  I don’t see requests like that very often though – I generally see enthusiastic gamers upset that they aren’t represented well.

2016 – A Tabletop Gaming Retrospective

Well, with Christmas out of the way, its time to look back at the last year, before we start looking seriously at hobby plans for 2017!  I’ll start with my thoughts on the hobby in general!

Well, the big change in 2016 has to be the sudden change in GW’s approach to community engagement.   Bringing back old models periodically, classic games like blood bowl, opening up multiple routes on social media, a genuine sense of humour in things like dealing with leaks and the regimental-standard.com – its been fantastic.  They aren’t perfect, by any means, by they’ve massively changed their approach from almost actively antagonising wargamers to reaching out, and engaging us again.  With the release of points in the General Handbook, popularity of Age of Sigmar has soared, giving them a credible fantasy alternative again.  I’ve personally been a little disappointed with AoS, both as I find the ruleset a little clumsy with the loss of any speed variable in combat (and I like fast Aelves!), and the lack of any Aelves for about 2 years, to be followed up by essentially just releasing the old starter set.  I’d been very excited by the Mistweaver from Silver Tower and the aesthetic there, so it feels a bit of a cop out.  I still want new pointy ears!

Guildball has continued to expand, though we’ll have to see how it does now a 800 pound gorilla like Blood Bowl is back on the scene.  I’m struggling to keep up with the rule changes every season, but as I’m not actively playing, it may just seem harder than it is.  I don’t find the same issue with Malifaux, though, and I haven’t really been actively engaged in that either.  The horde of gremlin options on the market is particularly fantastic ūüôā

Big names have continued to sneak into the war-games market, with Star Wars doing particularly well with Imperial Assault, X-Wing and Armada.  Star Trek and Halo have pretty credible entries too, and Aliens vs Predator is a really solid game, together with the The Walking Dead in the zombie sphere.  Its an interesting time, where major franchises are competing with entrenched systems – I’m worried it’ll hammer smaller systems and model makers particularly hard.

I think one of the trends I’ve seen is a distinct breakdown into 3 types of model buyer.  You tend to see collectors, who either play rarely or just play for fun with fluffy games using some of their more obscure models and have enormous collections.  You see players, who are increasingly moving to skirmish games with much lower model counts.  And tournament gamers, who play the larger systems but with much more focussed armies than ever before. 

Its unusual – in the past, I knew 40k gamers with loads of models and different armies, and I’d see them field a different one almost every game.  Now?  Even if they collect them, they just have one actual force they play with.  Its too much time and effort for them to keep up with the rules otherwise.  Games like Rogue Stars, Open Combat, Frostgrave, Malifaux, Imperial Assault and Kill Team are massively more popular than ever before.  It’ll be interesting to see if this changes up with a rumoured 8th edition this year.

I keep hearing the good thing about AoS is the low cost of entry compared to WFB, but all the games I see people playing and talking about are exactly the same sort of size as WFB ever was – I just hear a lot of current or former 40k players loving the models, collecting and painting them too, which didn’t use to be the case.  Even if I’m not a big fan of the system, I’m glad to see it do well, as I think the market needs a range of different fantasy games.  I hope we don’t see model creep stopping people getting excited for it in the same way we did with WFB, but I think the really well priced “start collecting” sets will help there.

With moving over 150 miles to a new home, all my local stores and clubs are different, so its really thrown my normal gaming options out in the latter half of 2016.  Hopefully I’ll find plenty of options to get my game on in 2017!

Getting started with 40K! (Particularly for Orks and Tyranids)

A couple of cracking chaps (@CronosTweets and @Kevuit on twitter) who are new to the 40K gaming side of the hobby asked a fascinating question Рhow do you get started in the hobby?  How do you learn the rules, and more importantly, have fun?

Well, thats actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer, as 40K has made itself increasingly hard to get started with. ¬† Its not something I’d noticed until I thought about it, but where you used to have starter sets with increasingly complex missions introducing you to the ruleset, now you chucked a bit more in the deep end. ¬†After silly numbers of years playing, that’s great for me, and starter and campaign sets give me updated rules and cheap minis …. but they aren’t so good at teaching you to play.

So how do you get started, particularly if you like an army that isn’t found in a starter set, like Orks and Tyranids in this case.

Well (and many may disagree …), I’d suggest planning a narrative set of games designed around the models you have that separately explore the different phases of the game to get used to the way your core units move. ¬†Here’s a few examples.

AMMO PROBLEMS!

Running low on ammunition and biological proteins, the orks and the tyranids desperately need to avoid combat, pick up supplies, then get back to the lads/spawning pools.  

Each of you dice for table edge (winner picks, other deploys facing him) pick a objective token, and place it for the other somewhere on a 4x4 board with whatever scenery you choose.  No combat is possible (no psychic, shooting or assault, though you can run in the shooting phase), but you have to run to your token, and back off your table edge.  First one off is the first to rearm, and will get to deploy first in the next mission!
TAKE OUT THE BIG UNS

Both Orks and Tyranids are led by biguns, though it has more of an effect on tyranids.  Pick a small force with a few MCs or walkers and some simple troops, with a range of longer range anti tank weaponry.

Ensure roughly the same points value and numbers of MCs and Walkers, and score a vp for each big un taken down!  This can illustrate the effects of the synapse rule for the tyrannies, and is a fun way to test out the shooting phase.
RIP EM UP CLOSE

Go for 500pt horde type close combat forces, and simply Warrrgh or chitter into it!  remember to try to concentrate your forces and defeat the enemy in detail where possible.  Its especially fun if no ones really shooty - get stuck in lads!

I think you get the idea – the narrative makes the simpler game more fun, and each one teaches you the basics of the game, so as you combine the elements, you don’t slow down too much or feel overloaded.

Stick with small points and fairly plain units to start with. ¬†You want to understand the basic abilities of your units before you start modifying them. ¬†Making a unit invisible can be great … but not if you don’t understand how they move or can be positioned. ¬† Introduce new abilities and phases slowly, and take into account not just your learning speed, but your friends – if you speed ahead, they can be discouraged, or you can actually miss some basic understanding that throws you off.

Formations, data slates and codex supplements offer another layer of complexity – I’d steer clear of this to start with until you have the basics hammered in enough to allow you to actually enjoy expanding the rules. ¬†No one, and I suspect even the games designers fall into this too, can keep up with the complete range of rules, expansions, campaigns, codexes, codex supplements, data slates, white dwarf extras and bonus formations in start collecting packs. ¬†Don’t even try – just remember you can always ask to see you opponents list and codex if something seems very odd! ¬†Just add the bits that seem fun – its a not a prescriptive system (with the possible exception of high end competitive tourneys!)

One thing we introduced in my gaming group at the time was a take back system! ¬† If we introduced a new edition or game, we’d have a number of take backs a game as we got used to it. ¬†We’d drop the take backs down as we played until we didn’t need them any more. ¬†Its a great learning tool! ¬†If you moved a unit and then realised in the shooting phase you actually wanted them to stay still because of a heavy weapon, use a take back to move them back! ¬†We restricted it to your own turn, and started with 6. ¬†If you got challenged on a rule and were in the wrong, you could use a takeback. ¬†It didn’t generally upset the game, but made those silly mistakes from a lack of understanding a lot less fatal and the games themselves more fun.

Big games can be fun, but they are slow, and the less familiar with the rules you are, the slower they are!  Start small.  500-1000 points is a great range for a reasonably battle without packing in every rule in the whole codex!  500pts is particularly good for learning phases, and the Combined Arms Detachment Рa HQ and 2 troops minimum is a fantastic starting point for balanced encounters.

The key is to play with enthusiasm, lose with grace, win with humility, and generally just enjoy the whole affair. ¬†Don’t get too hung up on getting the rules perfect game one – learn them over time. ¬†In my case, thats generally just as they update to another edition … ūüėÄ

With Orks, you probably want to get used to vehicle and walker rules quite early on.  With Tyranids, monstrous creature rules and synapse rules will be quite important, so narrative games focused around those will help you learn quickly.

Both armies play well hurtling forward, but there can be a surprising amount of positional importance for such brutal forces.  Charge genestealers into flamers and they will be toast. Get them into close combat though, and pretty much any force will get torn up!

Try to avoid very cheap forces, as they’ll bulk out the time of learning games early on. ¬†Hundreds of grots can fit in a 1000pt army. ¬†It won’t be fun moving them all, especially when flicking frantically through rules books. ¬†Keep it small and punchy, and mix it up with different units to get to grips with all of them – that’s when your list building and understanding of how to use units together starts to really get more effective, and formations then start making sense.

Hobby Roundup (Week 11)

Well, still not huge amounts happening in my hobby world directly due to very limited spare time!

I’ve just sent a fair chunk of my 40K into storage at¬†the folks (so they may see use against my brother!), as hobby space has become a bit of an issue – I have a little time to paint, but very little time to play. ¬†Painted armies sent away for now include Valhallans, 2 armies of Sisters of Battle, Grey Knights, Tau, and Necrons, joining the bulk of my Eldar and Harlequins.

I still have a fair few forces to play with if I did fit a game in, though apart from my ultramarines company, they are only part painted, including Tyranids, Silver Skulls, Imperial Fists, unpainted Eldar, Crimson Fists, Crimson Slaughter, Fallen Angels, some inquisition bits and pieces, Dark Eldar, and Orksies, plus a small force of Space Wolves from the campaign set, so I’m not exactly struggling for options just yet though!

A load of airbrush stencils have arrived from Anarchy Studios!  Loads of hex grids, dragon scale grids, diamond grids, some special effects, and loads of dungeon and starship floor grid tiles.  Awesome!  Looking forward to adding really great effects really quickly!  All part of upping my painting game while minimising time! I thoroughly recommend them, and hope to do some airbrush use guides here soon!

Hobby Roundup (Week 6)

Well, unfortunately the joys of real life meant I didn’t get time to update the blog as much as I’d like, so you’ll notice a bit of a jump to week 6! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to pop in a few notes for weeks 4 & 5 retrospectively! ¬†In fairness, though, pretty much no actual hobby except for some vicarious dribbling actually took place, so you didn’t miss much!

I’ve decided I need a bit of an OTT hobby project after being called “sensible” the other day, so I’m currently looking at a fully decked out Deathwatch squad from a range of different chapters. ¬†Mind you, given the rumours of a deathwatch/genestealer cult game coming, I may well hang on. ¬†I am tempted to go sillier though, with an Ork Nobs mob called Wotcha Deff! ¬†Painboy, silvery robot left arms, black armour…. muahahahahaha!

Also considering an Eldar Revenant titan for ludicrous scale silliness! ¬†Knights just aren’t enough!

Currently very into looking at getting Bloodbowl teams sorted out, and Bear¬†has been painting his Armada models which has got me excited to paint up my Armada and X-Wing too. ¬†Time is very difficult at the moment though, with 2 little ones and we’re in birthday season!

I thought the new Space Wolf stuff might get me excited for some old school marine action – my first RT marines were wolves! ¬†The Wulfen pics I’ve seen look like were chicken poses in biker spandex, so not floating my boat …. though in fairness, GW pics are often a bit under par and don’t do models justice. ¬†The new character models are nice though, but I already have Krom from the limited campaign set.

Struggling getting excited for guildhall going through the rules and options, and its the same hangup I have a bit with Malifaux¬†too. ¬†I generally prefer systems like frostgrave or mordheim, where the war band slate is a blank. ¬†Having to pick established characters doesn’t get me into the game quite as much. ¬†Cracking rulesets¬†though. ¬†I was looking at trying to field an all female guildball team, but can’t work out a good way of doing it without losing too many team synergies. ūüôĀ ¬†Mind you, I never win anyway!

Anyways, onwards and upwards!

2016 – The Year of Skirmish!

Well, its 2016, so like everyone else, I’m looking at the New Year and wondering what my hobby plans should be. ¬†I’m not going to go as far as resolutions, as I suspect I’ll crack like a twig at the sight of new shiny models, but I have a definite approach in mind.

2016 is the year of the skirmish (and board) game for me, I think. ¬†Why? ¬†It’s simple – time to paint, time to play.

With 2 small children, and my regular opponent having a small boy too, big chunks of hobby time just don’t come together often, if at all! ¬†Smaller chunks of time for a quick game, though? ¬†Thats possible! ¬†Painting a ¬†few models here and there? ¬†Doable! ¬†Painting a whole army? ¬†Thats more of a stretch, at least without compromising on quality more than I’d like. ¬†In addition, I am a hobby butterfly – without much time to throw at something, I’ll have lost interest in a bigger force before I finish!

So, what’s on the agenda then! ¬†In terms of 28mm gaming, I think there are 3 main games going to be grabbing my time – Dungeon Saga, Star Wars Imperial Assault and Malifaux. ¬†Bloodbowl, Guildball and Frostgrave are all likely to get a turn too, but probably more painting than play time.

Star Wars Armada and Star Wars X-Wing are definitely going to get play time. ¬†Minimal work is needed to field a force, and the games are easy to set up and fun to play. ¬†I’m hoping to customise a 100pts X-Wing tournament force with a squadron paint job too, but thats a bonus extra.

I’m going to mix it up a bit by painting for some of the charity armies for WAAC – so Lanyssa is being purchased for an upcoming Minions (from Warmahordes) army raffle. ¬†I may be moving this year, so not sure I’ll be able to organise a #WAAC 40K raffle like I did last year though – time will be very difficult!

What are the hobby losers then?

  • Infinity looks like it’s not going to get a look in this year. ¬†I love the models, but I don’t have any local opponents to get into it, and the same sort of Sci-Fi slot is being grabbed by Imperial Assault.
  • Age of Sigmar – well, that’s a blog post in its own right, but Dungeon Saga and Frostgrave fill the skirmish end of the fantasy spectrum already.
  • 40K, surprisingly, isn’t likely to get much of a look in. ¬†Despite being my favourite game for years and years, the length of games, setup times and size of forces make it unlikely that I’ll be able to get to play much. ¬†Add in the ongoing rules update costs, and the continual rules emphasis on new or underselling models to keep changing up forces, and I just can’t keep it up. ¬† I might pick a single army to work on over the year, but can’t see myself doing too much, though I may explore the new “Path to Glory” rules and look at maybe doing a 40K warband.
  • Warmahordes – I love the models, but¬†just don’t have time or local opponents to get really into it. ¬†My Cygnar are likely to go unpainted and unfielded! ¬†Shame, as I love my swans.
  • Dropzone Commander – I absolutely love this game, but just don’t think I’m going to get time to sort out a new system and build techniques for painting a new scale in large numbers.

I don’t plan on axing or reducing my collection unless it becomes necessary, but will be aiming to have a much smaller collection of active games and models. ¬†However, hoping to keep hobby enthusiasm high and participate more in things like Vassal and as part of the Warmongers over on twitter!