Getting the Campaign Itch – Early Draft of Campaign Rules

Howdy everyone.  Severus here, and today I wanted to share with you my most recent creations.  I have been feeling some hobby boredom lately.  Don’t get me wrong, I love playing games with the guys, but I was just wanting something more out of it.  I miss playing in the campaigns we used to do a few years ago.  Then the obvious solution hit me, I should make my own campaign.

Let’s back up.  I am a horrible story teller.  I have never been interested in role playing or re-creating battles from previous fluff.  I love setting up a scenario with a little fluff and then just letting it go and see how it evolves.  So for me, running a campaign is more about designing a system that will let a story evolve.  I was never terribly good at making a story and designing a series of missions to fit.  So, with that in mind I decided to sit down and try to make a set of campaign rules that had a nice strong rule set that allowed for some interesting stories to evolve.

Here is what I have come up with.  Feel free to leave me some feedback (keep in mind, my goal is to keep the system simple and straight forward).  If you want to steal the idea and run with it, be my guest.  My goal is to try to run this system with 4-6 guys and see how it hold up.

The following image represents the game board.  It is 61 tiles, so it is a little larger than a set of planetary empires.  You can use a large print out of this or whatever game board you have handy.

Game board Editted

 

Legend:

X = Army Starting Space

3 = Tile worth 3 points instead of 1

5 = Tile worth 5 points instead of 1

Setup

Players select a primary faction and a secondary faction (secondary factions are optional).  Examples of factions include Orks, Tau, Space Marines with the same chapter tactic, Farsight Enclave, ect.  Players roll for priority (2d6, highest has priority, re-roll any ties).  Players take turns, based on priority order, choosing starting tiles.  Each player starts the game with 3 armies located in their starting tile.  Starting tiles are always captured by there respective player.  After starting tiles are selected, players begin round 1.

Rounds

Players roll for priority (2d6, highest has priority, re-roll any ties).  Players take turns, based on priority order, moving a single army.  Armies can move two tiles per turn.  Any tile that has an army move through it or stop in it is automatically captured by that army.  Armies stop moving as soon as they enter a tile captured by an enemy.  Starting spaces can never be captured by an enemy army and enemy armies can not move through them.

If two opposing armies ever occupy the same tile, both armies are prevented from moving for the rest of the round.  A battle must be fought to determine who will capture that tile.  Battles are fought at the end of a round before points are scored.  The winner stays in the tile and captures it.  The loser is pushed back to the nearest friendly space (controlling player’s choice).  No more than 2 armies can battle in a single space during a turn.

Once each player has finished moving one army, the process is repeated until all armies are moved.  Players can elect to not move an army (pass) but if they do so they can not move any army for the rest of the round.  Each army can only move once per round.

Player Interactions

Players are allowed to talk to other players during the movement of armies each round.  Alliances and bribery are permissible.

Battles

            Battles are fought using the Warhammer 40,000 7th edition rules.  All codex and supplements are permissible.  Point values are mutually agreed upon by the players.  Forgeworld units are permissible (unless that unit has experimental rules, then it is banned).  Super heavies and gargantuan monstrous creatures are not permitted.  Mission and deployment are randomly generated as described in the warhammer rule book.

Armies must be battle forged (IE not unbound).  An army’s primary detachment must be the primary faction the player selected and must contain their warlord (aka if taking a CAD and an ally, the primary faction must be the CAD).  Army composition can be made up of no more than 2 sources.  Examples of two sources include a CAD and an assassin detachment, a CAD and a CAD, an ork horde detachment and a green tide formation, or a CAD and an allied detachment.

Points level recommendations for a battle are as follows.  Tiles worth 1 point, 1500 points or less.  Tiles worth 3 points, 2000 points or less.  Tiles worth 5 points, 2500 points or less.  The different point levels is intended to give the large point value tiles a more epic battle.

In Battle Bonuses

During a battle, players can spend points earned on the campaign board for in game bonuses.  These bonuses can be purchased at any time, but must be clearly declared by the player doing so.  The spent points are removed form the players total points.  The following is a list of options available for purchase.

  • 1 point to re-roll any dice (limit 3 per player per battle)
  • 3 points to increase or decrease reserve rolls by 1 for a game turn (This can be applied to the purchasing player or the opponent) (limit 1 per player per battle)
  • 5 points to call in an orbital bombardment (large blast Strength 10 ap 1, barrage, unlimited range, always scatters full distance) (limit 1 per player per battle)

Scoring Points

            At the end of each round, each tile controlled by a player awards them 1 point.  Tiles captured during this round are considered controlled by that player for points awarding purposes.  Some tiles are worth more points and are marked as such.

Game Length and Victory

The game lasts 7 rounds.  At the end of 7 rounds the player with the most points is declared the victor.  Remember, points spent battles are subtracted from the players total.

 

That is it.  My campaign system.  My big concerns rules wise are the in game purchases.  I am not sure if they will be to powerful and break the battles, hence I put a limit on them.  I also want them to be useful, so you are tempted to spend those hard earned points.  In terms of narrative development, I am sure there are some great stories that could come out of this.  Alliances forming and breaking.  Brides to keep enemies off your back.  Epic battles that were swung on the last turn to your favor by the use of strategic resources to call in an orbital strike.  That critical re roll of a failed invuln save to keep your character alive and carry the battle.  Let me know what you think.  Until then this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Effects of Exposure to Space on the Tyranid Biomorphs

total recall

 

Howdy everyone, Severus here.  I was listening to the latest podcast from The Overlords when the subject of a tyranid being exposed to space came up.  A physicist by the name of Ricard explained the principles behind heat gain and loss in space for a tyranid (sorry if I botched the spelling there, not a name that I am familiar with as an american).  The question was brought up what would happen to the tissues (aka eyes exploding and vessels popping).  Jon asked for a “medic” to write in to answer the question.  In real life I am a veterinarian, and my main area of focus is exotic animal medicine.  So, I feel qualified to answer this subject.  The following is probably not for the squeamish.

First off, explosive decompression of a body would not be possible.  The vacuum does not tear you apart.  The internal pressure within a body would be the only force acting on it to make it “explode”.  Fortunately, even in us squishy humans, our skin and connective tissues are strong enough to prevent those internal pressures from causes an explosion.  Now, one would assume the armored tyranids would also have as strong skin and connective tissue as a lowly guardsman.  Any biomorph intended to be exposed to space would probably have much harder outer skin than the normal biomorph.

Now, this pressure within our circulatory system would be strong enough to make small blood vessels, called capillaries, burst.  These are located through out the body.  Likely the surface vessels would be the only vessels exposed to enough of a pressure differential to burst.  These small vessels connect the arteries and veins and are the main way oxygen is delivered to tissues.  So, yes, the vessels in your eyes would burst.  But these vessels are small enough that there would not be an major bleeding due to clotting mechanisms and there very small diameter (usually only wide enough to fit a single blood cell or two through at a time).  The main damage would be the lack of oxygen to tissue.

The last major affect of exposure to vacuum would be escape of gas from a body.  In the case of a human, this would mean all the air in your respiratory system (lungs, trachea, mouth, sinus) and all the gas in your gastrointestinal system (stomach, intestines, colon).  Essential the would be a massive fart/burp along with a giant cough, leaving your body devoid of any gasses, mainly oxygen.  This would cause you to black out and suffocate.

Now, I don’t have a tyranid in front of me to examine it’s respiratory system and circulatory system.  I can extrapolate that the respiratory system of most of the ground based organisms we see are similar to ours.  Whether breathing through a mouth or nose into some sort of lung like organ.  They would have some connection to the outside environment and would therefore experience the gas robbing effects of the vacuum. AKA, a tyranid biomorph not designed for void exposure would likely suffocate unless they had some sort of emergency valve to seal off there respiratory system.

The circulatory system on the other hand is a whole new story.  The closest analog to a tyranid in the animal kingdom is insects or crustaceans.  They have a different circulatory system.  Humans have a closed system (blood contained in veins, arteries, and capillaries).  Insects and crustaceans have an open system.  In an open system, the heart pumps the hemolymph (the bug equivalent of blood) into a cavity that surround all the organs.  The hemolymph bathes the organs in nutrients and oxygen.  So, in exposure to vacuum, there are now small fragile vessels to burst.  The tyranid is likely one big squishy balloon of organs and hemolymph.  So, tyranids of any sort would not likely have vessels that burst in the vacuum of space.

Now for the final question, would the eyes explode?  There is a small amount of pressure contained with in the globe of each eye in most animals.  This pressure would not be enough to break through the connective tissues that make up an eye.  So they eyes would not burst.  They would not pop out of the sockets either since there is no significant sources of pressure behind the eye.  Any tyranid biomorph’s eyes would be safe from explosion in the void.  A squishy human would likely have the vessels on the surface of the eye burst, but not the eye itself.

So, more science than and explanation than was likely necessary.  But now you know.  Suffocation and a few burst small vessels are what a squishy guardsman could expect.  Tyranids would likely only suffer suffocation unless they had some biomorphs to prevent the loss of gasses (aka chitin oxygen tanks in there body).  More of a reason to fear the creepy space bugs.  Until next time, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Weekend in Review – Shorereaper

It was another great weekend for gaming, and I got to try out a lot of Tyranid units I don’t normally use. I figure this post would be good to give my honest opinion on a few of those units now that I have another game under my belt with them.

The first game I played was a scenario out of the Leviathan book against the Adepta Sororitas. There were three large blast sized objectives. These objectives would move towards the Sisters table edge if the closet model to them was a Sisters unit, and if the closest unit were a Tyranid, it would move directly away from the Tyranid unit. Sister player scores the objective if they can get the objectives off of their table edge, and I would score them if I could harvest them (mmm… tasty). By the end of the game, I harvested all three markers (or would have had my opponent not conceded). My deployment zone limited my options, so a lot of my units were held in reserve. This was the game where I tried out the units I don’t normally use.

The second game was a quick 1500-point game against the Blood Angels, and again, the Tyranids were successful. The only surprise unit I took was Old One Eye, and this now makes him have a 2–0 record! Like I said, the game was quick. I had some incredible rolls, and even the rolls that didn’t go well probably ended up helping me in the long run (not running out of terrain). My opponent couldn’t make any of his invulnerable saves when he had them, and didn’t do all that well when it came to his armour saves. Old One Eye had three squads (2 Five-man assault and 1 Five-man Tactical) against him at one time, and they still only caused him one wound. He really held up better than I thought he would.

Now, on to some of those unit reviews I promised.

Old One Eye – This buffed up Carnifex is a lot of fun to use. And once he takes his first wound, he gains feel no pain at the start of his next movement phase (if he is your warlord). I do believe that Old One Eye could be a great unit in fluffy games, but I wouldn’t use him in games that I wanted to be highly competitive. There are better HQ choices. I do see me fielding him on occasion though.

Maleceptor – DO NOT TAKE THIS UNIT! Yes, he looks cool, and in this weekend’s game, he was actually a little more productive than in the previous fame, but only in close combat. The one time I got his psychic power off, he missed his shot. He did kill a unit of sisters and a tank, but in close combat. This is not what he is intended for. He also provided a synapse range, which in this list was uncommon, but there are so many better options. So my Maleceptor will be sitting on the shelf looking pretty.

Haruspex – DO NOT TAKE THIS UNIT! This may actually be worse than the Maleceptor, at least the Maleceptor has an invulnerable save. I can think of only two redeeming values of the Haruspex. 1. It looks really cool. 2. Most opponents, not knowing what it can (or cannot) do, will concentrate on killing it, freeing up the rest of your army. In three games I have used it in so far, its kill tally is one Ork Boy. That’s it. To get it anywhere, you need to give it adrenal glands so you can get fleet; raising it’s cost even more. It has one “shooting” attack that will hit 50% of the time. I’d rather have a Carnifex.

Tyrannofex – Honestly, I cannot say anything about this model. Due to the limitations of my deployment zone (3 inches on each long table edge), I had to put this unit into reserves. And due to some poor rolling on my part, he didn’t make his way to the table edge till turn 4. Once he came out, he got one shot off, killed one sister, and that was game. I still do not know how to use it, or if I even should. Maybe I will give a better report later.

Mawloc – I hate Moloc. I have used the Mawloc in three games thus far, and I have had no success with him. I always try for his special attack, and in all three games I have managed to mishap and roll a 1. I cannot blame the unit for my bad luck, but after three times, I am pretty sure that I am never meant to play this unit. I think it does have potential, and I will give it another shot, but right now I am just a bit disheartened.

Harpy – Ah, the other flyer. I cannot say, “Do not take this unit” as I think it does have it’s uses. I just would rather take the Hive Crone. The crone, with its template attack, it’s missiles, and its S8 vector strike is just more useful. The Harpy, with its blast weapon and its bombing capability is just more limited. And once your opponent makes you jink, it’s pretty much out of the picture. Again, it has its uses, but there are better options for about the same price.

So, that’s it for my report this week.

Getting into the Greater Good – Y’varha Field Test List and Fluff

Howdy everyone, Severus here.  It has finally come time to shelve my Iron Hands and begin work on my Tau again.  The Iron Hands have reached there initial goal of 2000 points painted.  The next step is building them a Horus Heresy list, which I will save for another post.  Now is the time of the Tau.  I have tons of models for them, almost all of which I have airbrushed the base coat.  It is time to get them out and start finishing them up.

The first step to this army is settling on a list to play for a while.  That should cut down on the number of models I need to paint and give me some focus.  I am sure there will be some variation to the list depending on my opponent and how tough a list they want to face.  But I wanted a nice core place to start.  I also wanted it to have some strong fluff to base the army around.

Way back when (aka like 2 years ago), we had a little campaign run by Ralshenik.  I played my tau in it, and I needed to give my Shas’o (battlesuit commander for those of you not familiar with tau ranks) a name.  I read through as much as I could on names of commanders.  Generally they get a nickname based on there fighting style or personality.  I settled on Darkstar.  My lists also feature an ethereal usually.  I settled on Aun’ro.  I have yet to settle on a sept name yet.

Now for my list.  I have several of the forgeworld suits and wanted to work them into the fluff a bit.  The core list I wanted to feature the Y’varha in.  The concept is that since the Y’varha’s fighting style is so different from the normal tau strategy of waging war, Darkstar and Aun’ro order a field test upon receiving one from the Empire.  These specialty suits are in short supply.  Darkstar wants to know it’s capabilities and weakness so he does not squander this resource.

With that in mind two forces were deployed from Darkstar’s main force.  A scout cadre composed of kroot, pathfinders riding in tetras, and stealth suits.  They were tasked with locating a suitable target (most likely a group of tyranids drawn off from there main force).  A second cadre of mobile units were deployed as an escort to Darkstar and Aun’ro.  It is composed of a unit of crisis suits as a body guard for Darkstar, a unit of fire warriors in a devilfish as an honor guard to Aun’ro, a hammerhead gunship, a skyray, and a pack of vespid.  The Y’varha is deployed in an Orca and will await permission from Darkstar and Aun’ro before deploying to the field of battle (aka deepstriking).

Nuts and bolts wise, here is the list:

  • Darkstar – Commander with 2 missile pods, puretide engram chip, shield generator, velocity tracker, and Iridium Battlesuit
  • Aun’ro – Ethereal with homing beacon and blacksun filter
  • Stealth Team – 5 man with Shas’vre, all with burst cannons and positional relay
  • Crisis Team – 3 man with Shas’vre, all with 2 missile pods and velocity tracker
  • Firewarrior Team – 11 man with Shas’ui, all with pulse rifles and bonded, devilfish with disruption pods and sensor spines
  • Kroot Carnivore Squad – 10 man with sniper rounds
  • Kroot Carnivore Squad – 10 man with sniper rounds
  • Tetra Scout Speeder Team – 4 Tetras with disruption pods
  • Vespid Stingwings – 12 man with Strain Leader
  • XV109 Y’varha – Stimulant Injector
  • Hammerhead Gunship – Disruption pods, Railgun with Submunission rounds, Smart missile system
  • Sky Ray Missile Defense Gunship – Disruption pods, smart missile system

Total: 1997

Generally speaking, I like the list design.  I enjoy playing a more mobile army and avoiding the standard tau tactic of castling up in the back field.  I want this list to also be fun for my opponent.  Around my local group, riptides of any sort have earned a bad reputation.  I wanted to still play the Y’varha but in a manner that gave my opponent the chance to take it down.  Hence it is the only riptide or riptide variant in the list. Broadsides have also left a few guys with hurt feelings, so they didn’t make the list (along with there lack of mobility preventing them from keeping up with the rest of the force.)

There are still plenty of area’s of fluff for me to explore as well.  Darkstar’s background has yet to be fleshed out.  Based on his preference for mobile armies and experimental weapons and tactics, I get the impression that he is falling from the Ethereal council’s good graces.  I feel that the name is fitting.  In terms of his stance on Farsight, I have not decided on that yet.  His tactics seem to be similar to Farsights.  There is a secret group within the Tau Empire that still think he is a great commander and support him.  Perhaps Darkstar will discover this group in the future.

That about wraps it up for today.  I will try to get some pictures of my tau up for a more painting focused article next time.  What do you guys think about the fluff so far?  Do you think the field testing of the Y’varha will be a success?  Does the list sound like something you would want to play?  Until next time everyone, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

 

Seldom Used Units

In my last post I mentioned how I was challenged to make a list using units I own but hardly ever use. I thought that it would make a great blog to go through the list and why I hardly ever use those units. Some of my reasons I am sure are valid reasons, but even I know that other reasons are just lame.

First, the two HQ units I am adding to the list. I am going to use Old One Eye and a Tryanid Prime in my list. Old One Eye is a recent addition to my collection and that is why he has actually never seen the tabletop. However, even if that were not true, even if he was a model I had for a while, I do not believe he would be played all that often. For 220 points, I am basically fielding a Carnifex. Not that I am complaining, as I do use Carnifexes often, but not in his format. He does bring with him the ability for units within 12 inches of him to use his leadership value for morale or leadership tests. However, he is only leadership 8, and a synapse would be better. He does have the ability to generate extra attacks in close combat, and his warlord trait does give him feel no pain after the first wound, and he does come with regeneration, so maybe he isn’t terrible.

As for the Tyranid Prime, I have used one of them before, and I have to say that it isn’t a bad unit. Dropping a Prime into a unit of warriors makes the warriors WS6 and BS4, making them slightly better. And with a toughness of 5, he is a little harder to cause instant death to. The rest of the warriors, however, they will struggle since they are much easier to kill. I rarely use the prime because I feel the other HQ options are just better.

The troop options I decided to take are 30 Hormagaunts, a full unit of ripper swarms, and 6 Tyranid warriors. I never take the Hormagaunts and rarely take the Warriors for the same reason. I feel like there are better troop options. They are not bad, and I have had success with the Warriors, but I just feel there are better troop options. Like 30 Termagants and a Tervigon for example. As for the Ripper Swarms, I just don’t like taking them. Sure, they bring a lot of close combat attacks to the table, but at WS2 and S3, they are easy to kill and remove from the board. I will say that if they do get into close combat, they are good for tying up a unit for a turn or two.

My three Elite choices are the Haruspex, the Maleceptor, and a full unit of Hive Guard. Starting with the Guard, I have no good reason for never taking these. They are really good at what they do. S8 weapons that ignore cover and do not need line of sight are nothing to sneeze at. Sure, odds are that I will hit with 3 of the 6 shots, but it is still a solid weapon. The Haruspex and the Maleceptor I have used in some games, and I just do not feel that they are worth the points cost. To get the Haruspex anywhere, you have to give it adrenal glands, making it a 175-point close combat unit that isn’t all that good in close combat. And the Maleceptor is terrible. It’s a psyker unit that costs way too much for what it does. In the one game I used it, I would have been happier with nearly anything else in the codex.

I have three fast choices in this list. I decided on 25 Gargoyles, the Harpy (it’s a good thing I am facing an army with no flyers since the Harpy is Anti-troop) and a spore mine cluster. My reason for never using the Gargoyles is admittedly lame. I am lazy, and I hate moving that unit. They are not a bad unit at all. They are fantastic for getting in the way of your opponent and tying up a unit in close combat. Sure, they are weak, but they are cheap and have a 6+ poison attack, meaning they can wound anything. The Harpy is just the worse of the two flyers. The Crone is so much more useable, so I tend to take one or two of them in every game. The Harpy does one thing ok, and that is shoot at troops, preferably troops with low armour values. As for the Spore Mine cluster, I just do not think taking them as a unit brings any value to the game.

Finally, I have the two heavy units I decided to field. I decided on the Mawloc (I hate Moloc) and the Tyrannofex. The Mawloc is a unit that I do not believe I gave a fair chance to. Is has an interesting subterranean attack and it a tough monstrous creature. I have used it in a game or two, but it just doesn’t fit in my normal list. As for the Tyrannofex, it is a relatively new model to my collection, but that is not why I haven’t used it yet. Honestly, I am not sure how to use it. Basically being forced to take gives me a chance to try it out and maybe learn some things.

So, that’s my rarely used unit list. I couldn’t actually add the Biovore or Pyrovore, since I do not actually own those models (yet). I do see some serious issues with this list. Just thinking about the lack of synapse units means I may be falling back a lot. I do, however, rather like the idea of taking units I never use.

The Thin Grey Line – What is too competitive?

not GMO vegan cheese but could you tell anywayHowdy everyone, Severus here and I wanted to touch on a subject today that may seem a little odd.  When does the game become too competitive?  When is someone’s play style or list composition just to much? It is a question that the Lord Primarch and I have had endless debate over.  He being on the side of softer lists, myself on the side of harder lists.

Normally, when our gaming group gets together, we have a few pre-made lists.  Sometimes that entails bringing multiple armies along, or large selections of one army so there are list options.  Regardless, we have the usual conversation with our opponents about what do you want to play.  Harder lists, soft list, Tau, Orks, ect.  For the most part we have a smaller gaming group and know each other well.  The problem comes up when someone new enters a game with us.  A lot of the newer players or less frequent players around our area play softer lists.

The argument comes down to this.  Is it possible to play a softer game with a hard list and still have fun with a player that is running a soft list?  As in, can you use a hard list but still keep it fun for both players?  I would argue yes.  The Lord Primarch would argue no.

Then my opinion changes a bit this week.  I had the chance to play in two league games this week, a 40k game with my Iron Hands and a Fantasy game with my Vampire counts.  The short version of the games was this.  As the Iron Hands I was the very hard lists and despite my attempts to reel it in, my opponent conceded by turn 2.  I can only assume he did not enjoy that game.  As the Vampire counts, my opponent had the harder lists.  Despite his attempts to keep it light and fun, I had no chance at winning that game.  I conceded on turn 5.

This is not meant to insult my opponent or to make him seem like a bad guy.  He is a friend and I enjoy hanging out with him and playing games with him.  That was not a fun game for me and my Vampires.  My opponent was very friendly, offering advice on the best way to tackle a situation or alerting me when I made a poor decision (and then giving me the chance to change that decision).  Despite all that I could not enjoy that game.  Did I learn things?  Yes.  Did I learn weaknesses in my list?  Yes.  Did I learn how to improve my list? Yes.  But I still didn’t enjoy that lesson.  I felt like I never really had a chance.

I have been beat worse than I was beaten in that game.  I have lost horribly with plenty of different armies across fantasy and 40k.  The key for my enjoyment is the feeling that you still have a chance to do something awesome to get you back in the game.  The key for other players enjoyment may vary.  Some guys like a good narrative.  Some like a close match.  Some like to watch the world burn and crush there foes.

Lets get back on point though.  The questions was is it possible for a player with a harder lists to play a toned down game against a player with a softer lists and both players have fun?  Before I treated this as a black and white thing.  Yes or No.  Now I think there is some grey area in it.  There are probably some lists out there that are so hard, there is no way to play them down enough to get a fun game for both players.  The opposite probably also holds true.

I am not sure where I will take this new found opinion.  If someone rolls in the store this weekend and wants a game, I would probably open up my lists to them and let them have a look at them.  Give them an option as to what they will be up against.  What about you guys?  Where do you think that thin grey line between a tough fun game and a poor match up is?  Do you tone down a lists or your play style?  Or do you do both?  Until next time this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Weekend in Review – Shorereaper

This past weekend was actually fairly productive for my 40K hobby and me. It started on Saturday when I figured the paint scheme for my Alpha Legion, I also got a game in with my Tyranids, and I made some actual progress with my Tyranids models. It’s been a few slow weeks for painting, so this was big for me.

Starting with a quick summary of the game, my mighty Tyranids snuck out a victory against the Greater Good this weekend at Core Worlds Games and Hobbies. It was another 2K game and I took a list that was similar to my usual list, I just changed my tactics a little bit. I had the Swarmlord, Flying Hive Tyrant, 30 Termagants, a Tervigon, a Carnifex, an Exocrine, a Tyrannocyte, and 6 Zoanthropes with one Neurothrope upgrade. My opponent had Fire Warriors, 2 units of Broadsides, 2 units of crisis suits, one of the flyers (why?) and a Riptide. We played an Eternal War game of the Emperor’s Will (with no Impearial army?) and deployed on the short table edges. I will say, I was a little nervous about this since I would have to take a lot of firepower just to get to my opponent.

Some key highlights of the game include me getting first blood in turn two, my Swarmlord failing a charge and dying, the Zoanthropes causing one wound to the Riptide and one wound to a Braodside (which did kill the Broadside). Actually, the Swarmlord didn’t do much but march across the field and then die, one of his worst showings I have experienced. The Zoantrhopes, arriving via Deep Strike in the Tyrannocyte, were cut in half thanks to Broadsides with interceptor. He got three wounds, and I failed all three invulnerable saves. The final tally was that I had my Objective and the Tau had theirs. In secondary objectives, my opponent had Slay the Warlord, while I had First Blood and Line Breaker. If the game went one more turn, I think that we would have either tied, or I would have lost. It was a fun and close game.

As I said earlier, the rest of my weekend was also productive. Our forge world order arrived last week and I got my new Alpha Legion shoulder pads along with my Hierodule. The pads rejuvenated excitement about 30K. I really decided to try and come up with a scheme I wanted to use. I trolled the internet, trolled facebook, asked questions of people posting on the Overlords page, and finally decided on a scheme I wanted to try. I decided to make a test model on a Space Marine to see how it would look. I tried using Vallejo’s Gunmetal Blue with a light glaze of GW’s Waywatcher Green. After it dried I gave it a quick gloss varnish. While it is a little greener than I wanter, I do think I like it.

Alpha Legion

Also of note is that made some progress on Old One eye. And yes, I put him on the new GW base and after getting used to it, I have to say that I actually like the base. Sure, it’s a little bigger, meaning that my opponent will be able to get more models into base contact, but with most MC’s being on oval bases, the Carnifex just seems to fit a little better.

Old One Eye

I will admit that I almost cried when I woke up on Friday morning to see Forge World has pre-orders up for more Alpha Legion products. Especially since I just got my order in, but I have a lot of stuff to work on right now. I have my Dark Eldar, which I bought another Ravager for. I have another Hive Tyrant that needs to be built (which is an example of a MC on a round base, I know). I have tons of models to finish painting in all of my armies.

I was also challenged to build a Tyranid list using units I have but almost never use. It looks like the Maleceptor will be returning to the table, as will my Gargoyles, my Mawloc, and some rippers. The list doesn’t look bad, but I cannot say that it’s good either. But at least I will be facing the Sisters, which means it may be a good game after all.

Unit Review: Tau XV109 Y’varha – AKA Lightining

tau-suit2

Howdy everyone.  It’s Severus and I am back with part two of my riptide variant review.  Check out part 1 here.  Today I will be covering the newer addition to the tau arrsenal, the XV109 Y’varha, or as I call him, Lightining.  I just picked this baby up and am getting an impression of how it works on the table top.  These are my early thoughts on it’s tactics, rules, fluff, and model.

Fluff wise, this one is a little light on it.  Essentially, the famed creator of the R’varna, Fio’O Kel’shan Sho’Aun, had at least one other suit design in his arsenal  After the success of the R’varna, he was given the green light to work on his other prototype, the Y’varha.  This suit is a shift away from his traditional philosophy of siege warfare.  It is designed for more hit and run style warfare.

Model wise this one is my favorite.  He looks absolutely fantastic.  His super charged jet pack really gives you the feeling that he can make some large leaps through the air.  Assembly was pretty easy.  I think the only complaints I could lodge is that a few gaps were left around where the resin plates cover the torso.  There was a fair amount of filing to make some of those pieces fit.  Otherwise, another great kit from forgeworld with lots of posing options.

Once again, at the time of this writing a set of experimental rules are available for download from forgeworld.  As always, since these are experimental, I recommend getting your opponents permission before playing with these rules.

Rules wise this guy is a huge mess of rules.  First off, the stat line.   Pretty similar to the riptide again, but now with 4 wounds and ballistic skill 4.  The Y’varha comes with hit and run as well as supporting fire.  It can take shielded missile drones or standard shield drones, which I still think I would pass on due to the chance for failed moral checks.  Support system wise, it has access to everything.  Stand outs for me are the stimulant injector (feel no pain) and possibly the counter fire defense system (overwatch at BS 2).  It is a fast attack slot and only available to the tau empire.  Guess old Farsight is left out again.

Now on to the pile of wargear this guy drags into battle.  It’s Ravelin Shield generator provides the Y’varha with a 5+ invuln, improving to 4+ invuln when the attack is made within 12 inches or close combat.  Up next is the Vectored Thrust Array.  This allows the Y’Varha to move like a swooping monstrous creature (12-24 inches).  It cannot vector strike or preform a movement like this in 2 subsequent turns.  Note it moves like a swooping MC, it is not swooping though, so it can be shot normally.  Finally, it’s Flechette Dispersal Pods.  When the Y’varha moves as describes above or comes in via deep strike, it can make a special shooting attack at the end of the movement phase.  The weapon has 6″ range, strength 4, ap5, assault D6 with the shred special rule.  Note, this does not count as firing a weapon (so he can still shoot his other guns at a different target).

Now onto the weaponry.  First off the Y’varha is packing a phased-plasma flamer.  Oh yeah, it’s that bad.  It is essentially a 6″ torrent flamer with two fire modes.  Single canister makes the shot strength 6, ap3, heavy 1.  Full rotation (as in all three canisters) is strength 6, ap2, heavy 2, gets hot.  This gun is MEAN.  It can essential wipe out any infantry squad it likes.  Templates ignore cover and depending on mode, it can be ap2 or ap3.  Add onto that the double shot for full rotation and you begin to see how much damage this can put out.  Remember, this gun can only kill what it can reach, so the 6″ torrent is your friend.  Don’t let a crafty tau try to cheat you.  After that try to keep your units spread out (pretty standard advice when dealing with template weapons).

Now for my favorite, the Ionic Discharge Cannon.  This thing is anti-armor to the max.  It has a 12″ range, strength 8, ap 3, heavy 3, blind and a special rule called haywire burst.  This rule states that for each hit this weapon causes against a vehicle, it causes a separate haywire hit.  Now that alone makes this gun mean.  If it gets in range, it can drop a land raider in one shot (with a bit of luck).  Once again, the down fall here is range.  It needs to get close to use this weapon, so a clever foe can try to stay out of it’s range.

Now onto the final bit, the special nova reactor that comes with the Y’varha.  It can increase the invulnerable save to 3+ in close combat.  It can increase the number of shots from the Ionic Discharge Cannon to Heavy 3 + D3.  It can be used to remove the model and place it into ongoing reserves (essential flying off like a flyer).  It can do this while in combat.  Finally, it can use the reactor to gain jink.  If it is moving as if swooping that turn, i gains a 4+ cover save.  Generally speaking all very useful powers (if a bit situational).  I like the extra shots from the Ionic Discharge Cannon.  That makes this guy able to drop a knight in a single volley (if you roll super well).

In terms for tactical use of this suit, it is pretty simple.  Get this guy in close to a juicy target, do as much damage as possible, then get back out.  Rinse and repeat.  The problem becomes target priority.  That is really a function of your list and your opponents.  Don’t have anything to deal with those sanguinary guard coming up your flank.  Fly the Y’varha over and use the full rotation flamer to burn them down.  Don’t have anything to slow down that land raider of terminators coming towards you lines.  Hit it with the Ionic Discharge cannon.  The key is to not get bogged down.  Use the hit and run or the nova power to jump into reserves.  Kill what you need to, then get out to take on a new target.  Staying mobile is key. (Side Note: these are mostly theoretical tactics, my experience with the Y’varha is limited).

Now, the final question.  How do you kill one?  This maybe a little harder than initially you may think.  It is one wound less than a riptide, so it should die quicker.  Same tactics apply there (large amounts of poisoned shots, high strength low ap shooting, grav weapons).  The best tactic for killing a riptide in my opinion is leadership checks and close combat.  Leadership checks are still a valid way to push this guy around or potentially run him down.

Close combat is a bit hairy.  You want to be able to kill the Y’varha in a single charge.  If you fail to kill him he has 2 chances to escape (hit and run in your turn or the nova power in its turn).  Then your assault you is stuck sitting out in the open and the Y’varha is free to run around wreaking havoc again.

That about wraps it up for Lighting.  I am really looking forward to getting these two on the table together.  I think they can have some great synergy and look amazing.  I just need to get them painted up.  What do you guys think about these forgeworld suits?  Are they fitting the tau army aesthetic and fluff like you would expect?  Any insights on taking them out or neutralizing them? How about the experimental rules?  I honestly expect that they will tone down the Y’vahra whenever it gets official rules.  Regardless, this is a piece I am happy to add to my collection.  Until next time, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Unit Review: Tau XV107 R’varna- AKA Thunder

ravanap1

Howdy everyone, Severus here.  Today I wanted to start a 2 part review on the riptide variants released by forgeworld.  I happen to have both and have used them in my lists to good effect.  So, I figured I would share my thoughts on them.

Up first, the XV 107 R’varna, or as I call him, Thunder.  Fluff wise this guy is awesome.  Essentially, there is a sept of tau that is CONSTANTLY under assault from tyranids.  A member of the earth caste, Fio’O Ke’lshan Sho’Aun, basically lied to the ethereals.  He kept asking for more funds and equipment to build a new stealth unit.  Instead he came out with this bad boy, who happens to crush the invading tyranids and save the day.  Interesting that some of the best tau stories come from times when a member of the society tells the ethereals screw you and does what they think is best.

After that battle, the ethereals sort of okay the production of the suit.  At the time of this writing, it is limited to the planet of Ke’lshan, production wise.  Obviously it can be used by other septs, but only in limited numbers since there is only one world producing this variant.

The model speaks for itself.  It is a bulkier riptide in terms of it’s armors.  It has two awesome gun arms in place of the gun and shield.  The guns are pulse submunission cannons.  They are as mean as that name sounds.  It was relatively easy to assembly (although the little ammo canisters and fins sticking of the gun were a bit fiddly and always worry me when being transported).  Recently I had my guy in foam that was to tight and one of the guns actually was warped by it.  Cup of hot water straightened it out.  Besides that I have no big complaints.

Now for the rules.  At the time of this writing, the rules are still listed as experimental and available for download from forgeworld.  It is the second set of rules for the R’varna.  This does present a bit of a gray area.  In theory, they will either put out a book or download with the official rules.  For the time being, since they are experimental, I recommend talking to an opponent before using this guy.  Use your best judgement guys.  Also note, you can only have one of these period.  And only in a tau empire army as a heavy support.  Sorry Farsight, guess Aun’Shi couldn’t steal one for you.

Back to the unit.  He is essential a beefed up riptide stat line wise.  Biggest change is he has 6 wounds at toughness 7.  He is not a jetpack monstrous creature, just a monstrous creature, so he loses some mobility.  He has no options for weapons, you get the 2 pulse submunission cannons and that is it.  Wargear wise he has two options: positional relay and stimulant injector.  I opt for the stimulant injector, feel no pain on a T7 6W model with a 2+/5++ is just a good investment in my mind.  He can also bring 2 shielded missile drones.  I tend to pass on these, the firepower isn’t worth it and they lower the unit toughness to 6.  Plus, if you lose a drone from shooting you are subject to a moral check.  No one likes to see a 300+ point unit run off the table.

Now onto his pile of special rules.  First up, how those big beautiful guns work.  Each pulse submunission cannon fires a single large blast template with a 60″ range (remember, he has two of these guns).  On infantry models they cause a strength 6 ap 4 hit.  Very bulky models, bikes, jetbikes, beasts, and cavalry each suffer 2 hits at strength 7 ap4 for each model under the template.  Extremely bulky models, monstrous creatures, flying monstrous creatures, vehicles, and artillery each suffer 3 hits at strength 8 ap4 for each model under the template.  What this amounts two is these weapons can put a ton of hits on just about anything.  The moderate ap value means most targets will get a save, so weight of fire is key here.

The big guns are not the only new toy the R’varna has.  It also has it’s own nova reactor.  It can increase the invuln save to 3++ like a riptide.  It can choose to run 2d6 and gain fleet for a turn (which is handy when you need to re position or get away from a threat).  It can do an emp pulse, hitting all models within 6″ of the R’varna with a strength 2 ap5 haywire hit.  Last, but not least is volley fire.  It allows the R’varna to fire each pulse submunission cannon twice (so for 4 large blasts in total).  It can not fire in the following turn.

So, now that that you have the rules under your belt, lets talk about how to use the R’varna.  This unit is great for locking down a lane of fire on a table.  It can put out an incredible amount of fire power.  Even if it can’t ignore 3+ or 2+ armor, weight of fire can bring those units down.  Throw a few marker lights on it and he can ignore cover.  He can use this weight of fire to drop just about anything.  He struggles most with AV 14 (since he can only glance on a 6) and terminator equivalents (causing a single strength 6 hit on each).  He flat out can’t handle a flyer (being that his only weaponry is blast).  Otherwise it is fair game.  I have seen him drop a full health daemon prince in a single volley.

My favorite tactic with him involves his nova reactor.  Line up a good target turn 1 or 2.  Get the reactor to go off and volley fire the target.  4 large blasts with it’s multiple hits rule can hurt a lot of things.  Now you can’t shoot the next turn.  Get the reactor off again and choose the 2d6 run and fleet.  Now re position you R’varna into another lane of fire and repeat on turn 3 or 4.  There is a great fear factor involved here.  My opponents have seen this trick and will do everything to avoid presenting a target to the R’varna.  You can use him to push enemy targets into line of sight/range of other units in your army.

Now the big question, how do you kill/neutralize this guy?  He is actually not as hard to kill as you may think.  The standard strategies that kill riptides kill him (large amounts of high strength low ap shooting, grav guns, large amounts of poisoned weapons to force a lot of saves, lock him in close combat).  Now, here is the problem with the first three.  If you can shoot him, he can shoot you.  So you basically need to kill him in one round of shooting or present him with to many targets so that something is alive to kill the R’varna in subsequent shooting rounds.  The only exception to that would be if you fire support is on a flyer, since all the R’varna can use against it is harsh language.

Now follow me here.  In games I have played so far, close combat has been the most effective way to neutralize a R’varna.  If you are crafty and can avoid being shot and get within assault range, you can shut him down.  He can’t overwatch with his blast weapons.  He has 3 attacks at weapon skill 2, initiative 2.  Granted, he will be ap2 as a monstrous creature.  Odds are though he will only kill a marine equivalent a turn.  So, say you are lucky enough to get a tactical squad in to combat with him.  They can use krak grenades to wound him on 5’s and lose a single guy per round.  You may not kill the R’varna, but he won’t be shooting for a long time.

The other way to handle him, morale checks.  He is leadership 9, so it is a little difficult.  The more tests you make him take, the more likely it is he will fail.  Odd’s are, he will be close to board edge to avoid anyone getting to close.  One bad leadership roll and off he goes.  You can also try to pin him, making him snap shoot (which he can’t do with his blasts).  Finally, if you ever beat him in combat, run him down.

The last trick up a crafty opponent’s sleeve, blind tests.  At initiative 2, he is going to fail the majority of the time.  Now, snap shots prevent him from firing his large blasts.  Don’t let a sneaky tau lie to you, marker lights are no help.  Yes, they can improve the ballistic skill of a snap shot, but they are still snap shots.  So, no shooting for the R’varna.

That about wraps it up for Thunder.  Hope that gave you a little insight on what this big thing is, where it came from, and how to use or kill it.  Up next is the Y’varha, or as I call him, Lightining.  Until then, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Dark Eldar – Initial list

When the Dark Eldar was released last year, I decided that I wanted to add them to my ever-growing collection of armies. I wrote a few 2000-points lists, trying to find one that was a little fluffy and seemed to be a lot of fun for me to play. Now, this is probably not the most competitive that I could have written, and I did drop some units based on dollar cost (the Bomber), but I believe I hit on something that I will enjoy playing.

HQ –
Archon w/Huskblade and the Armour of Misery as my Warlord.
Succubus w/Archite Glaive, Haywire Grenades, and a Webway Portal.

Troops –
5 Kabalite Warriors in a Venom with a Splinter Cannon
5 Kabalite Warriors in a Venom with a Splinter Cannon
9 Kabalite Warriors w/1 blaster) in a Raider w/Dark Lance, Night Shields, and splinter racks
10 Kabalite Warriors w/1 blaster) in a Raider w/Dark Lance, Night Shields, and Splinter Racks

Elites –
8 Bloodbrides and a Syren w/Shardnet & Impaler in a Raider w/Dark Lance and Night Shields
9 Bloodbrides and a Syren w/Shardnet & Impaler in a Raider w/Dark Lance and Night Shields

Fast –
Razorwing w/2 Dark Lances and 1 Splinter Cannon, 4 Necrotoxin Missiles, and Night Shields
9 Reavers w/3 Heat Lances

Heavy –
Ravager w/3 Dark Lances and Night Shields
Ravager w/3 Dark Lances and Night Shields
Ravager w/3 Dark Lances and Night Shields

I will place the Archon in the unit of 9 Warriors, and the Succubus in the unit with 8 Bloodbrides, deep striking them where they are most needed with that Webway Portal. This seems like what one would expect on a raiding list. Maybe after it is complete, painted, and played I will expand on the army, slowly adding other units.

I didn’t want to play Venom spam, and while I know the bloodbrides are not the greatest unit, I like their fluff. Everything else, I admit, is very basic.