Friday, May 5, 2017

40K Friday: Hard Choices

With the coming of a new edition I have been taking stock of the armies I have - what's playable, what's fun, and what's painted.

  • Howling Griffons - small but completely painted and not planning to add more now.
  • Crimson Fists - lots painted, more that could be added
  • Blood Angels - some painted, lots of stuff in the works, and some things I still need to get
  • Imperial Fists - done, painted, no expansions planned.
  • Dark Angels - planned, bought, partially worked but nothing finished.
  • Imperial Guard - Still coming together. I expect this to mainly be Blaster's next army.
  • Eldar - lots finished, more in the works whenever I want to expand.
  • Dark Eldar - small force built and base coated but could be bigger.
  • Orks - quite a bit finished but it is an ork army so there's just a ton left to paint 
  • Iron Warriors - lots finished but could be bigger ...
  • Death Guard - some finished but need to complete the core units to really make them usable
  • Khorne Daemonkin - have gathered enough to make a playable force but still small and still mostly not painted.
  • Tyranids - Did I say tyranids? Why would I do that? There's nothing to see here.

That's a lot of armies. About half of them are at the point where I could field a fully painted army of a decent size. The rest are still somewhat early in that process. I feel like I should narrow the focus a bit.

Additionally 5 of them are marine armies and 2 more are chaos marine armies and that seems like it might be overkill. To me the core of the 40K universe is Marines, Orks, Eldar, and Chaos. That's where I want to spend my time.

So I am breaking up the Dark Angels.

Yes, the army I documented over the years - like 5 years ago when I picked up the new boxed set, or when I reviewed the new codex, or when I devised a paint scheme I was happy with, or here in 2014 when I spelled out my thinking behind the army I was building and when I was making progress. The one I've probably talked about the most besides the Eldar I spent last year finishing up. They're just not sparking the enthusiasm the way I had thought they would. I still like my paint scheme for them but I am not all that interested in painted 50-100 guys in it right now when I have nothing finished for them and a bunch of other armies much farther along.

I am not selling them though - I am re-purposing them.

I thought about this a lot over the last few months. I decided that it makes more sense to break them up and use the parts to make other armies even better rather than building Yet Another Power Armored Force. Instead:

  • The Iron Warriors get 2 more Predators- this gives them 3 total, Hope they're decent in 8th.
  • The Iron Warriors also get 2 more Rhinos - this takes them to 6 and should be all I will ever need for them. With 4 CSM squads, a chosen squad, and some possessed, well, now everyone has a ride.
  • The Dreadnoughts go to the Crimson Fists. Hoping they're good in 8th as well.
  • The Attack Bikes go to the Crimson Fists, which is where they were slated to go when i first bought them years ago.
  • The speeder typhoons go to the Fists.
  • The missile launcher devastator squad goes to the Fists as well.
  • The assault squad goes to the Crimson Fists.
  • The 2 sniper scout squads go to the Fists.
  • The not-molded-in Dark Angels tactical squads go to the Fists too. This will bump me up to 5 or 6 of those as well.
  • Finally the Land Raider Crusader goes to the Crimson Fists. They will put it to good use.
  • The 3 Razorbacks go to the Blood Angels.  This will give me some options besides jump packs and drop pods - especially for fielding tactical squads. 
  • The regular land speeders go to the Blood Angels as well.
  • The HQ are being split up among all of my other marine armies, at least the guys who don't have the chapter symbols molded on.
This leaves me the Dark Vengeance tac squads, the DV leaders, the DV bikes, some terminator squads, and the Deathwing Knights. They will go in a box for now until I decide if I want to convert them, sell them, or start them up again. More likely is that I will give them to one of the boys to start their own army or trade them to someone for more orks/eldar/chaos/marines.

I really wanted to get back to the heart of the game and this change lets me do that:
  • It beefs up my Crimson Fists with all of the ancillary units they should have. It'll be good to have a "normal" marine army on the table again. All I need to make them complete in my mind is some sternguard and a few drop pods.
  • It lets me focus time-wise on finishing the Blood Angels who are pushing my buttons quite a bit more than the Dark Angels have been for a while now. With the Fists "mostly done" I can work on getting the BA's to the same state and not feel like there's still one more marine army waiting on my time. Plus if BA Razorbacks keep some kind of "fast" rule then these Razorbacks will be quite a bit of fun. 
  • It pushes my Iron Warriors into the realm of serious tank army. Considering that I already have cargo for the rhinos and the speed with which I can paint them , it's a pretty nifty situation. Six rhinos, three predators, four helbrutes, and a heldrake make it the most mechanized marine army I have. I'd like to add a land raider to finish them out. And a Vindicator squadron ...

Preparations continue!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Beginning of May - Around the Tower

The brain -dump post - you have been warned!


  • Deadlands continues on it's once -a-month schedule as planned. So far so good and it's been a lot of fun.
  • M&M Time of Crisis is on hold until June as College Red is busy with the local Renaissance Faire. No worries as it opens up a weekend for experimentation with things like Runequest or DCC
  • Those other campaigns on that left column are on a when-we-get-the-chance kind of schedule so they occasionally get played then go quiet for a month or two. 
  • Pathfinder: do not miss running it right now, still enjoy playing it. 

  • Looking Back - I had another flirtation with 4E a while back. Not sure we will be playing it soon but I still really like that game.
  • Catching Up - I've been picking up more 5E books. Still think the monsters are boring compared to 4E but I'm coming around on the game itself. I don't think the published AP's are going to do it for me - I'm going to have to make my own to give it a fair shake.
  • Wandering Eye - As I fill in some of those missing items I actually do read thru them - Bard's Gate, Call of Cthulu, Spycraft - lots of interesting games that may not get played anytime soon.

  • My dive back into Steve Jackson Games sparked my interest in Car Wars and Ogre so we may give those a try
  • Hoping to play more Armada in the near future
  • Need to find time for X-Wing too

Online Inspirations
  • I got back into Star Trek Online in March after a long layoff from the game. This has spurred an interest in all things Trek and I expect that to continue. It's eaten up a fair amount of free time too and I will try to re-balance that to at least get some more mini's painted. 
  • Dawn of War III just came out last week. I'm still getting my feet wet but at the moment I like it enough to want to see what comes next. 

The Future
  • 40k 8th edition is the biggest thing coming for me personally
  • I am interested in seeing what happens with the new Star Trek RPG from Modiphius. Still not sure about the system but I do want to see what they do with it.
  • I am also quite optimistic about Starfinder. What will they change? What will the setting be like? I'll be in for the basic book at least. 
  • Freedom City 3E! I kind of need this as that's where my M&M game is set! Been looking forward to this one for years!

  • Get a Savage Rifts game going at some point, probably late this year or next
  • Give 5th Edition an extended try out
  • Introduce the Apprentices to Shadowrun
  • Introduce the Apprentices to Champions
  • Run at least a short Star Trek RPG game
Heading into May means all of those end-of-school activities will be taking up a fair amount of time too. We will get through all of that and then hopefully June settles down a bit and schedules smooth out. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

40K Optimisim: Two Months Out

It's the first day of May, and every indicator points to a mid to late June release for the next 40K. I am a little surprised at my own level of optimism for this change. It's been 19 years since we saw a total reboot of the Warhammer 40,000 system, it's the 30th anniversary of the game's release, and I am as excited as I can recall about a new edition.

Why? Probably because a reset means everyone is on the same footing. units that have been poorly regard for the last edition or three may be useful again. Armies that have had problems under the last few editions and codexes get a clean start - at the same time everyone else is getting a clean start! Lots of long-term issues that never really seemed to go away or seemed solvable under the existing rules structure should be washed away in an entirely new rules engine.

Example: I fell in love with the Ork army during my Epic days and ended up with quite a few gargants, tanks, guns, and boyz stands, a remarkable number of whom are painted. That pulled me into giving them a try in 2nd edition 40K. I kept up with them thru 3rd and into 5th but they needed help adapting to the new structure of the game after that. For these last 5 years orks have still been somewhat fun to play but so handicapped that even the legendary fun factor of the boyz was wearing down for me.

With the prospect of new rules, and a total reset of power levels and codexes, I am betting that things will be much more "even" here at the beginning of a new era. From older models like the Wartrakk to newer models like the Morkanaut I expect a renewed level of fun stuff and utility both for all units.

In fact, if I was a miniature company I would work hard to make sure that every model I have does something that no other model can do - that gives people a reason to take them! Especially within one army - internal balance is critical. "Making interesting choices" is a core concept of playing these kinds of games and a good design for the units in an army can start this process before the game ever begins. Those ork walkers are way too cool to be saddled with a bad design in the game - make them as fun and interesting to play as their looks imply.

Armies and things I am looking forward to seeing again:

  • Dreadnoughts! Please, give us a reason to field them again!Some of the units that drew us into the game!Marines, orks, eldar ...
  • Wych Elves! Let the Dark Eldar field full armies again!
  • Howling Banshees! Shining Spears! Falcons!
  • Chaos Marines! I mean, I field them but they're not a common sight anymore.
  • Terminators! What we've seen looks good so let's hope it all works out. 
  • Defilers! Too goofy to stay bad!
  • Flyers - I hope they will be better integrated into the game as to me they felt sectioned off into their own thing quite a bit of the time. Many of them you could just ignore. I'd like that to be better this time.
That's just a quick sample. 

With a fresh clean start there's no guarantee that old rules or weapons will be the same. Scatter laser jetbikes are the terrors of the tabletop now, but scatter lasers may look very different in 8th. Storm Bolters may be different. Grav will probably be different. The Lance rule may change or may not even exist - same with Rending, Power weapons, Melta, etc. In the leap from 2nd to 3rd a lot of weapons and models changed dramatically in how they were used and I expect a similar level of change here. 

There's also no guarantee that existing formations will carry over so my Wraith Host may be screwed. I'm sure there will be something similar eventually, and all of the units are a normal part of an eldar army, but the rules could change dramatically. Same thing with that Daemon Prince giving bonuses to possessed formation that I was working on after Traitor Legions. Ah well - I'm sure I will find a use for them regardless.  

So what am I doing? Well, I am looking at each of my armies and figuring out how I want to play them for 8th - as much as one can with no actual rules yet. Apparently assaulting out of transports is a thing again, and I was planning on mounting my Iron Warriors in Rhinos anyway, but how many? Will CSM's still be able to take the bolter-bolt pistol-chainsword combo? I hope so because that's how most of my guys are built. If not I might want to build a squad or two specifically to be my "assault squads".

I am also looking at some of those unloved units of the past few editions and picking some up as a future investment. Why not add some wych elves to that Dark Eldar allied force I built? How about a Deff Dread for my ork horde? Maybe the Iron Warriors need a land raider to go with all of those Rhinos.

It's a good time to be a 40K player!