Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

40K Friday - Chaos & Eldar Updates

Slow but steady progress on two armies:

The Iyanden Eldar are waiting to be assembled or painted. The holdup at the moment is basing, as in "I'm trying to decide how to base them".Simple grass or turf (or snow) gets them done faster and doesn't require any new acquisitions but there are a lot of nice custom ruin bases out there that seem appropriate for an Eldar force. A smaller force like this makes it easier to do, though potential future expansion would mean I would need more of the bases too. I am undecided for now.

For the Chaos Marines, I have two units in-progress:

The Havocs are coming along. That gray color will be white when I am finished, with green as an accent color. I'm going for a pre-heresy Death Guard look for these, with different units of the army in different stages of corruption. These guys, while clearly being altered in that interesting Rogue Trader Chaos way, are going to be fairly pure in a color sense. contrasting with the plague marines and the possessed who are way gone. I started going for a bone look on the missile launchers but I'm switching that to green to keep the look more uniform.

These are my future Chaos Spawn, the "Malborn Croc" miniature from the "Dreamblade" game WOTC put out a few years ago. The GW spawn mini's look like spindly tentacle monsters and that's fine for some things but I wanted a different look (more power, less tentacle) and these look like a twisted mass of animal muscle that's ready to punch in the side of a tank. They look like something that might have been locked away in the bowels of a drifting space hulk, right? Some inks and new bases and they should be a pretty easy conversion.

That's the update for this week. After these two units it's time to get the plague marine squads in shape.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Overreaction Wednesday: Star Wars

Yes, I watched the new trailer last week. Yes I thought it looked pretty good. It was a strange feeling to see some of the familiar places and things back on screen in something new that isn't an animated special. The falcon swooping up as the music kicks in ... yeah. If this new wave of films can really recapture the spirit of the originals then I think it's going to be an amazing run. Think about a potential next decade of revitalized Star Wars films -and- decent, interconnected superhero movies. My inner 8-year old is going to lose his mind.

Now it could still fall flat. Remember when we (well, some of us at least) thought the awesomeness of the Lord of the Rings movies would bring a new wave of well-done, CGI-enhanced fantasy movies? I'm still waiting. Bonus: we get the terrible Hobbit movies ten years after the great LOTR movies. A great book stretched out to three movies by a director that is out of control. My dislike of the Hobbit movies is similar to Barking Alien's dislike of the new Trek movies and many fans dislike of the Star Wars prequels. So much wasted potential...

Of course in the internet age we have to have uber-geek overkill analysis of every single little thing in the trailer. I'm glad they announced ahead of time the Expanded Universe was No Longer Canon or it would be even worse as people tried to match 88 seconds of video up with 20-odd years of novels and comic books. My advice: ignore the internet on this one other than trailers and maybe inevitable occasional interviews with people who worked on it and go into the theater in a year and see for yourself.

Hopefully we avoid the negative scenarios completely. With Star Wars being a part of Disney now I suspect they will go with the Marvel model and put out some individual movies then begin to cross-connect them with each other down the road. If JJ Abrams and the other people in charge of the universe now can keep a steady hand on it then it's going to be a lot of fun for the next few years.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Blog Status Check & Future Planning

After some time off, a few thoughts on the future of the blog:

  • After 4+ years I think the Motivational Poster thing has run its course for me, so for next year I'm going to let that go. I'll probably come up with some other regular funny thing but it won't be this.
  • January's theme will be catching up on Wrath of the Righteous. It's the one campaign I'm running consistently these days so I ought to be able to do session summaries for it. January is when I will post all of them to date, which will be twenty-something by then. 
  • I want to make 40K Friday a reliable thing. With some gaps here in our playing & painting it was not a regular thing in 2014 but I aim to change that for 2015. I intend to make miniatures games a more regular thing here in general with some interest in Bolt Action and a possible foray into Dropzone Commander next year. I expect 40K to remain the main game and hopefully that will keep the Friday updates rolling along.   

Monday, December 1, 2014

City of Heroes - Second Anniversary of the End of Paragon City

Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of the shutdown of City of Heroes. It was not a happy event, and a lot of players still miss it. Around here we still have the occasional "that's my next City of Heroes character" moments when something cool or funny crosses our path, but not as many as before.

I won't go on about it - I said my piece back before and after it happened. The most relevant post today is probably this one. As even tabletop games bring in more and more technology the specter of obsolescence in a far bigger sense than "hey there's a new edition" continues to creep in.

City of Titans continues.

Valiance Online continues.

Heroes and Villains continues.

Even the Hail Mary continues.

 Someday, we'll get a game that's as good as CoH even if it has some differences. There are too many people that loved it and want something like it for it not to happen. It may take a while - it has taken a while - but it will happen.

Motivational Monday

Friday, November 28, 2014

40K Friday: Return of the Eldar - NONGUARDIANS!

With some time off I've been digging through the 40K stuff. I needed to, as in a recent rearranging of the game room and the garage a lot of things were "temporarily" tossed into boxes and drawers to get the larger task accomplished.

After finding a home for ... almost everything ... I started looking over my Eldar. A year ago I was all fired up to build a wraith-heavy force using the Iyanden supplement. Then earlier this year I mentioned I was thinking that it would be smarter to instead just build out my existing instead of building two Eldar armies. More recently, given the number of 40K armies I have* vs. the number of times we play in a year I was thinking about dropping them entirely and focusing down to marines, orks, and chaos. I've worked out an answer I can live with this week so I thought I would share.

My old "alien" Eldar are going back in the box for now, The newer stuff will be painted up as an Iyanden force of 1000-1500 points using what I already have with dual themes of "wraith units as core" and "no guardians". This is the list as of right now:

Iyanden Army

1 Wraithlord (Heavy Support) @ 165 Pts
Monstrous Creature (Character); Ancient Doom; Fearless; Ghostglaive; Flamer (x2); Bright Lance (x2); Warlord

1 Spiritseer #1 (Spiritseer) @ 140 Pts
Infantry; (character); Ancient Doom; Battle Focus; Fleet; Independent Character; Psyker (Mastery Level 2); Spirit Mark; Rune Armour; Shuriken Pistol; Witch Staff

1 Spiritseer #2 (Spiritseer) @ [70] Pts
Infantry; (character); Ancient Doom; Battle Focus; Fleet;Independent
Character; Psyker (Mastery Level 2); Spirit Mark; Rune Armour; Shuriken Pistol; Witch Staff

5 Fire Dragons (Elites) @ 110 Pts
Infantry; Ancient Doom; Battle Focus; Fleet; Heavy Aspect Armour; Fusion Gun; Melta Bombs

7 Harlequin Troupe (Elites) @ 268 Pts
Close Combat Weapon (x5); Harlequin's Kiss (x2); Shuriken Pistol (x5);Fusion Pistol (x2); Flip Belt; Holo-suit

   1 Death Jester @ [28] Pts
   CC Weapon; Shrieker Cannon; Shuriken Pistol; Flip Belt; Holo-suit

   1 Shadowseer @ [48] Pts
   #Veil of Tears; CC Weapon; Shuriken Pistol; Hallucinogen Grenades; Flip Belt; Holo-suit

   1 Troupe Master @ [38] Pts
   Power Weapon; Shuriken Pistol; Flip Belt; Holo-suit

5 Wraithblades (Troops) @ 160 Pts
     Infantry; Ancient Doom; Bulky; Fearless; Force Axe & Forceshield

5 Wraithguard (Troops) @ 160 Pts
Infantry; Ancient Doom; Bulky; Fearless; Wraithcannon

5 Dark Reapers (Heavy Support) @ 150 Pts
Infantry; Ancient Doom; Slow and Purposeful; Heavy Aspect Armour; Reaper Launcher; Reaper Rangefinder

1 Falcon (Heavy Support) @ 135 Pts
Vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Tank); Capacity: 6; Spirit Stones; TL Shuriken Catapults; Shuriken Cannon; Pulse Laser

Models in Army: 34

Total Army Cost: 1288

Dropping the Harlequins takes me down to around 1000; Adding a wraithknight or another guard/seer combo squad takes me towards 1750/1850. Keeping it to one CAD makes it easy to ally them in with another force. I know this is not a tournament army but that's not really a consideration here. I will probably look at some wave serpents down the road to add some mobility.

Another upside is that around half of this force is already painted, leaving me fewer than 20 figures to paint to call it "done." Going with a common Eldar paint scheme makes it easy to pick up a painted unit if I see something interesting, avoiding an increase in the backlog.

The general approach is that the Reapers sit somewhere and shoot at range, the Fire Dragons jump in the Falcon and travel where needed, while the seers join the Wraithguard units and march across the table with the Wraithlord and Harlies. It's not a fast army but they are fairly tough. Performance will determine future expansion.

Anyway, that's the latest on the Eldar. I've been working on the Dark Angels and the Chaos Marines so I'll have more to share on those down the road.

*I have ten armies right now of say 1500 or more points. Some of you are saying "wow", some of you are saying "that's all?" but regardless of where that sits on your personal scale they take up a fair amount of space (especially if you want them out where you can see them) and if I'm only playing twice a month, that not even 3 games a year with each army. You're never really going to get to know your army if you play 3 games a year with it, so my thinking has been to focus in on fewer armies and using them in more games.

Friday, November 21, 2014

40K Friday: Star Trek Joins Warhammer 40,000

Shown here: Andorian Captain in Artificer Armor with Power Sword.

(I love Star Trek Online but sometimes they do push far beyond the boundaries of the source material)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kingmaker Update

The adventures of Sir Ivan Zhukov and friends continue - we have completed Part 1 of 6 of the Kingmaker Adventure Path! I mentioned this back when we started in February and we've kept at it all year. We play once a month for 7-8 hours and we've completed ten sessions now. This is my longest campaign as a player in years and it's been a lot of fun.

One of the interesting things is that we're only about 3rd level and that doesn't seem to be a problem for anyone. We're all experienced RPG'ers with varying degrees of Pathfinder experience and we tend to have a pretty relaxed attitude about the game while still wanting to make progress clearing out "our" land.The open structure of the campaign definitely has a sandbox feel to it, with a dash of "mission" to give some direction to those who need it.

It's also fun to watch personalities take shape over an extended time from the player side of the table. It just reinforces my belief that actual play is a much better forge of personalities and backstory then the pre-written novella for most games. Different strokes, I know, but it is definitely my own preference as all too often what a player says about their character beforehand is quite different from how they play their character when the hammer comes down. Although that cam be fun to point out too.

Personal Note: Cavaliers are awesome in this campaign. Given room to run (i.e. Charge!) they are a blast to play both mechanically and attitudinally. It's not overconfidence if you can back it up, right?

I don't want to get into too many specifics as I don't want to spoil things for anyone who hasn't played it yet, but yes, it does live up to the hype, at leas through the first part. As always, your group and your DM will make a big difference. If you can find a DM that wants to run this one for you I highly recommend it!