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dinsdag 22 mei 2012

Monday Morning Gamer 22-5

Hello and good morning! I think this is a first: me actually posting a Monday Morning Gamer post on an actual morning! (It’s 8:14 am here, for those wondering). Sure, pessimists might point to the fact that it is Tuesday instead of Monday, but I choose to look at the glass as half full!

Anyway, another shortish post for you this morning. I have a few thoughts on the new Empire book. I know it’s been out for a while already, but I didn’t do a proper post on it before so I’ll mention some thoughts now. Secondly, we have another installment of our Farewell to 5th painting challenge. We’ve hit a sizeable snag last week, which I’ll mention below, but most of us managed to push through and get some painting done. Lastly, just some thoughts on the way army selection works in our group currently. Nothing big, just some thoughts I’ve had while playing in our Blood in the Badlands campaign.

Let’s get to is, shall we?

Men of the Empire!

The Empire book has been out for a fair few weeks now and I thought I’d give you some of my thoughts on the army. This past weekend I’ve been trying to draw up some lists to see if I could make an army I’d see myself play with, some I’ve put some thought in it already. Of course, I haven’t played a game vs. the new book yet, so whatever I say here is all just theory! So here it goes, my thought on how I think Empire will work and what we’ll see once the dust settles:

-Multiple Warrior Priests will feature in every army. Empire is an army that relies on buffs to put it over the top, and none of these buffs come in such a handy package as they do in the warrior priest. A decent fighter (for empire standards), relative low cost, Hatred for the unit he joins, some handy innate bound spells, the ability to potentially generate extra dice in the magic phase, all make for a very versatile character that has a place in every Empire army.

- The best war machine in the game has just become the Volley Gun supported by an engineer. Using the Engineer’s BS of 4, coupled with his ability to reroll an Artillery Dice, will make the Volley Gun completely lethal. Put it in the centre of your line and opponents will be reluctant to advance to midfield. Drop one on a flank and you’ll have closed it off hermetically. Awesome combination.

- Buffs being so important for the army, I think the Hurricanum will see more use than the Luminark. 6+ ward save is nice, but not as nice as +1 to hit. Couple that with Hatred from the Warrior Priest and even lowly halberdiers will start to look fairly intimidating.

- Greatswords and Cannons are still a mainstay of the army.

- I have trouble seeing a place in the army for a Witch Hunter. His special rules aren’t bad, but with his limited equipment options, coupled with the fact he can’t ride a mount, I would think those Hero points are better spent on more Warriors Priests or a Wizard.

- I think “ Hold the Line”  is a great new rule for Empire. Good, but not overpowered, and it’s something that definitely adds to the feel of the army on the tabletop. Well done, Cruddace!

The Culprit
Farewell to 5th painting challenge – week 2:

We’ve all gotten distracted last week. I completely did not realize that Diablo 3 was being released last week. That’s rather odd in and of itself since, like many others, I’ve been waiting for it to be dropped for years now. Still, it’s here and it’s been a popular game among the participants of this challenge. So much so that most of the free time we’ve had has gone into playing this game. Balephon managed to pour all his free time in this game (he does love his barbarian, he does), while Bra’Tac and myself managed to tear ourselves away from the game long enough to get at least something done. Oddly enough, we both employed the same time-saving technique to get stuff done. I believe the official term is “taking about 2-3 weeks’ worth of stuff to paint, assemble it and get at least a basecoat on it, so that you can put proper paint on it later and at least push the problem into the future”. Or it might be “ temporary solution”. Anyway, here’s a pic of Bra’Tac’s progress so far (together with The Game). As you can see, he’s getting good use out of his GW Hand Flamer-shaped spray gun.

Seriously, how cool is this army?
 And here’s my progress so far. 455 points worth of chaos space marines.
Look Bra’Tac,no finger!

As you may have noticed, they are sprayed metal. The reason for this requires a bit of an explanation. My friend Balephon plays Orks in 40k, and he has a lot of them, in various stages of assembly and painting. I’m always amazed at how big a big Ork army looks and about a year ago I asked him how many points he had. Like any gamer who’s been collecting an army for years, he did not know exactly, but he figured it was somewhere around the 10k mark. Then, being the nice chap he is, he returned the question. How many points worth of space marines did I have?

I did not know.

But I’m always up for a good hobby challenge, so I decided to see how far I’d get if I tried to line up all the space marines I had in official Space Marine Companies. To my astonishment I realized I could field two complete companies and half of both the First company and the Eight company (Veterans and Assault marines, respectively). This was actually quite a shock because up until then I’d always kept my marines in various different containters, never seeing them all together. What was most shocking was that most of the collection was unpainted!

I decided then and there that I needed to do something about that. Now, even I realize that I will never be able to paint 400 marines to a high standard and finish before the turn of the century, so I decided on a simpler method. I would spray the models metal, paint some details and then wash them liberally with either GW’s Devlan Mud (old range) or Army Painter. Like always, I managed to stick to this project for about as long as it took for someone to wave something shiny in front of my eyes, but the idea has stuck.

So, long story short, I’ve decided to use these following weeks to make some more progress in my Space Marine department. I’ll expect these 20 marines to be done by next week! There, I’ve put it in writing!

Army Selection thoughts

The way we (our group) normally choose our armies in Warhammer Fantasy is based mostly on the way army selection is dictated by the tournaments we play. Over the years we’ve been going to plenty of tournaments and we’ve come to a mutual understanding that every game we play should in some way prepare us for the next tournament. Nothing wrong with this, obviously, but I thought I’d take a moment to look at the three major restrictions we impose on ourselves and see if there’s room for change. Or something thing.

Over here (i.e. the Netherlands) we do not have heavily comped tournaments. Overall, all tournaments are basically the same. You’re free to select any legal army you want, with the following three restrictions:
-          No Special Characters
-          No Duplicate Rare choices or Triple Special choices
-          2400 points max

Let’s look at each of these in turn and see what we can come up with.

Why no special characters?

This one I blame on two things. The first is called conservatism. For (almost) as long as I can remember, there has been a ban on using special characters in Warhammer Fantasy tournaments here. Balephon might assist me in trying to remember if the very first tournaments we went to also had this restriction, but I think they did. Anyway, the point is, for years and years it was the rule that special characters weren’t allowed on the tournament scene. They were too cheap, too good, too weird and generally too odd to use in a tournament setting. This went for both 40k and Fantasy, btw. Over the years, 40k evolved to a point where not only were special characters allowed, but you needed them for certain army builds! Deathwing armies wouldn’t exist without Belial, nor would Loganwing without Logan Grimnir. And imagine seeing a Grey Knights army at a tournament that didn’t have either Draigo or Coteaz; now that would be a rare sight! Fantasy, however, has remained set in its ways that Special Characters are nice for fluff and models, but have no real place on the battlefield (of a tournament, anyway)

I mentioned two reasons for the ban on special characters. The first I outlined above, the second reason is called Teclis.  Not to single out any one special character specifically, but Teclis is a prime example of the reason why Special Characters are still not allowed in fantasy. The short version for people who do not know Teclis: Teclis is too good at what he does. Sure, he has his weaknesses (nobody likes having T2) but it’s fairly easy to work around these weaknesses and Teclis will always dominate a game. I can certainly imagine losing the desire to play High Elves if I knew that I’d always be facing Teclis. Of course I realize Teclis is a holdover from 7th and that, looking at the current books GW has released, Special Characters are vastly better balanced now. Still, since over half of the armies currently still use a 7th edition army book, I can understand the need to draw a big red line through all Special Characters and disallowing them from Tournaments altogether.

The point of this all, though, is to see why we don’t use special characters in our friendly games. I’ve used, and had used against me, a few special characters so far in our fantasy campaign. I’ve had Heimlich Kemmler and Krell trying to free a captive Ghoul Lord from my Warriors of Tzeentch (they failed), I’ve seen the Troll King screamed to death by an overzealous Terrorgheist (damn your eyes, beast from hell!), and I’ve seen Slugtongue kill off just enough models of most of my supporting units to make me rethink my plans even before the first turn of a game!

What I’m trying to say is, while all those characters had an effect on the game (well, Throgg didn’t, but still), they did not dominate the game. Actually they made the game more fun because we had additional units to choose from. I for one am very happy we chose to allow special characters in our current campaign! I’d advise all other players in our group to try one of them out before the end of the campaign. Heck, I’ll even let Apophis use Teclis once if he really want to.

Cool, huh?
Why no two rare or three special?

This restriction is actually two-fold. First, you’re not allowed to take any duplicate of a Rare choice. Usually this even goes for High Elves, though I know sometimes exceptions are made. Second, you cannot take any Special choice more than twice.

Now, why do we do this? Sure, it’s no fun facing dual hydras or twin Abominations whenever you face Dark Elves or Skaven in a tournament game, and we all know this would be an actual risk at tournaments. But why not use it in our own games? As with special characters above, in certain of the games I’ve had so far in our campaign I’ve either faced dual rare choices (Terrorgheists and Ghorgons) or used them (War Shrines). And none of those battles were decided just because the winner used dual rare choices. Sure, I lost the game vs. Jerroii’s undead the time he used two Terrorgheists quite convincingly, but it was the type of game where I couldn’t even kill one Terrorgheist, so him having two didn’t change much.

And using two of the same rare choices or three of the same special choices does open up certain themed builds. In campaigns especially this can be a lot of fun. GW has already introduced a max on how many of each choice you can take in addition to the percentage restrictions. Why restrict things even more for friendly games?

Why 2400 pts?

Ok, this last point is a bit trivial, since you have to agree on some point level, and having a set standard of points to work with means you can always compare the army lists you make to other armies you’ve fought. This makes it easier to think how a your new list would do to certain other armies. For instance, since I’ve changed my Ogres list last time, I’ve been running it in my mind vs. other armies I’ve fought. How would I have handled the High Elves I faced a couple of tournaments back? How would they have handled the Doombull from hell? With a set points value like that it becomes easier to determine how well your new list will work.

On the other side of the coin, I do like larger or smaller battles. Recently I played a 4000 pts battles vs. Bra’Tac’s ogres in our campaign, and it was great fun! No longer having to decide between taking a sorcerer lord of Tzeentch or of Nurgle, but just being able to take both and seeing which one performs better! Equally, there is something challenging about making a 1000 pts army that works well. I know not all players enjoy this (ask Apophis how he liked making 500 pts High Elf armies for our previous Fantasy campaign), but I enjoy the puzzle that is making these lists. Additionally, I always have it in the back of my mind that a 1000 pts army will make for great project armies. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made 1k armies with the idea that “I could make this a dark bretonnia army, with Ghost Knights riding up from the swamps and Men-at-Arms in ghastly pale colours” or “it would be really cool to do a squig-themed Night Goblin army, and at 1000 points, that’s totally manageable!”. Suffice to say, none of these ideas ever amount to much, but as they say, it passes the time nicely.


Hmm, well this turned out longer than I thought. It's now 9.45, so a good 90 minutes later! Hope you enjoyed the read, and until next time!