Throne of Skulls 2017 – An Inauspicious Start

So, 40k 8th Edition is in full swing and the first big tournament of the new edition is on the horizon. Well, it’s actually tomorrow…

The event is a Throne of Skulls, at Warhammer World in Nottingham: five games using the Maelstrom of War-style missions and built to a 100 Power Level limit. Armies are not fixed and may be changed between games. Nice and simple, right?

I decided to attend this event later than perhaps I should, and due to issues arising in my personal life, I was nowhere near as prepared as I should have been. Yesterday, two days before the event, I had only just settled on my Army list… I confess I almost pulled out several times; I couldn’t make a list I liked, the use of Power Level over actual points worried me, amongst other reasons, but I stuck it out and after a nightmare journey up from London, here I am; 9.30pm on the Friday night in my hotel room getting my thoughts onto paper.

…and doing some last minute finishing touches to get these last few models into a gameable, if not ‘finished’ condition…


They’d be more finished if I hadn’t forgotten my Averland Sunset or Mephiston Red to do the shoulder rims on two men and the eyes on all of them, but oh well… It’ll do!

I’m not confident I’ll do well this weekend, but my list looks and feels reasonably fun and balanced:

  • Shrike
  • Captain with Relic Blade
  • Lieutenant
  • 2x Tactical Squad with Combi-Melta, Meltagun, Rocket Launcher
  • 2x Tactical Squad with Combi-Plasma, Plasma Gun, Rocket Launcher
  • 2x Assault Squad with 2x Plasma Pistols
  • Vanguard Vets with Lightning Claws
  • 2x Devastator Squads with Combi-Plasma and 4x Lascannons

78 models, 99 Power Level. It’ll take some clever play to beat purpose-built shooty or assaulty armies, but it is certainly possible. Ultimately I’m here to play five games against new people, the result doesn’t matter as much as the enjoyment of the game.

It’s now 9.45pm, so I’m going to end this entry there. All being well, I’ll get at least a highlight reel of tomorrow’s games up tomorrow evening and Sunday’s games on Sunday. If all goes absolutely perfectly, I may even get the actual battle reports up!

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New 40k Edition, New Look Blog (Part 2)

Good afternoon! Today we see the second part of my Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition first glance!

We will start off with something I neglected to include last time because I wasn’t 100% on how it worked:

Psychic Phase

In recent editions of 40k, the Psychic Phase was a bit convoluted and, in my opinion, not really worth the hassle. Now everything is a lot simpler: choose a power, roll 2d6 and beat the power level. Double 1 or double 6 is a Perils of the Warp (inflicting a Mortal Wound), and if your Psyker dies the power fails and everything within 6″ takes damage. So much easier!

Charge Phase

The charge phase isn’t all that different; you pick a target to charge with, your opponent overwatches, and with a 2d6 roll you determine whether your unit has successfully charged or not. Unlike older editions, models now have to get within 1″ of enemy models to consider the charge successful, which means some of those iffier distances are more likely to be successful!

Also a part of the charge phase, the new(ish) “Heroic Intervention” rule means that Character models within 3″ of a combat may pile in to it at the beginning of the phase.

Combat Phase

The combat phase sees a few changes, notably the order in which units fight; all charging units fight first, then players alternate picking units to fight with (player whose turn it is picking first). This means that players have to be tactical in picking which units to fight and when, lest they make a bad decision and lose a strategically-placed unit before it gets to strike.

Models with more than one close combat weapon now have the opportunity to divide their attacks rather than having to choose one weapon with which to attack.

Morale Phase

The final phase of the turn is the Morale Phase, where players roll a dice and add the total of models slain in a unit that turn. If the number exceeds the Leadership value, the test fails and a number of models equal to the score the test was failed by are removed from play; exactly like in Age of Sigmar.
So, that’s the basics of 40k 8th Edition! I think we are in for a much easier time, playing a much simpler game, which seems to have shed the fattening rules of previous editions. Love it or hate it, we are in for something special!

The next post will cover the different options for playing games and the methods of army building that go with them. 

Until next time, keep the hobby positivity flowing!

New 40k Edition, New Look Blog (Part 1)

Good morning everyone!

Two months ago, I promised that this blog would be returning from the dead like a phoenix from the ashes. It turns out, however, that this particular phoenix wanted a lie in and continually mashed “snooze” on his alarm, for which I apologise!

Today I wanted to go through a brief overview of the new edition of Warhammer 40,000; the long-awaited and much-debated 8th Edition. Since it isn’t out yet and I haven’t gotten as good a look at the rulebook as would be required for a decent review (which will be coming soon), I’m just going to cover the basics:

Moving: Nothing much has changed here, except models all now have movement values; Humans are slower than Eldar, Bikes are faster than Infantry, etc. Running has been replaced by “Advancing”, which seems to act in much the same way.

Shooting: Models may not fire at enemy units within 1″, but different models in a unit may fire at different units. Models can now fire multiple weapons per turn; this includes both barrels of combi-weapons, which are no longer one-shot only. Heavy Weapons can be fired on the move with a -1 To Hit penalty. Assault Weapons can be fired after Advancing with the same penalty. Pistols cannot be used in conjunction with other weapons (except other pistols) but can be used to fire at targets 1″ away. Gone are the days of the flamer and blast templates; the weapons now roll a set or randomly-determined amount of dice.

This brings me to the To Hit and To Wound rolls: rather than set Weapon or Ballistic skills, models hit specifically on a set dice roll which can be modified by things like cover or moving with a heavy weapon (both incurring a -1 To Hit penalty). To Wound is still based off Strength vs Toughness, but the rolls required have changed: equal Strength and Toughness still require a 4+, higher Strength than Toughness requires a 3+ and lower Strength than Toughness requires a 5+. Only when the Strength is DOUBLE the target’s Toughness do you require a 2+ To Wound, or when HALF the target’s Toughness do you require a 6+. I don’t think needing a 6+ isn’t going to be particularly common, unless you are dealing with vehicles, which I will address later.

That’s it for this initial look at 8th Edition 40k. Tomorrow I will cover the Psychic, Combat and Morale phases, as well as some of the changes made to how units function: namely AP modifiers and the different types of Vehicles.

Thanks for reading!

My (slightly less than) Glorious Return!

I have neglected this blog and its readers over recent months/years, and I feel you all deserve an explanation. This blog started out as a way to document my thoughts and feelings as life progressed, but life got in the way as it often does and left me with little time to indulge in hobbies or other extra-curricular activities such as writing.
So what I’m going to do is give you a brief update on where I am currently and what is happening next, and hopefully a more normal service will commence soon (I’m hoping for one post a week, maybe every two weeks minimum).
I started a degree in Education Studies at the University of East London in 2014, I graduated with a First Class Honours in 2016. Between September 2016 and March 2017 I assisted at that university as a Gradiate Teaching Assistant, and I am due to start a Masters degree at King’s College London in September of this year. I also worked in retail where and when I could find the hours, so as you can imagine I was fairly busy!
Hopefully my academic timetable come September will allow me to continue to post, but expect regular updates over the course of Spring and Summer!

And Now For Something Completely Different

HELLO!

For those of you who have been long-standing readers of this blog, I thank you for your patience during the long gaps between entries. For those of you who are new, welcome!

This blog was originally simply intended to be something fun for me to do while I chronicled particularly noteworthy battles or my painting progress. It started off with 40k, I threw in a little Fantasy and then some X-Wing and other bits and pieces. Sadly university takes up a lot of time and I’m not getting as many games in as I used to, nor am I really getting any painting done. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk on the computer doing university stuff and when that’s done I don’t particularly want to remain at said desk painting.

So I found a new hobby…AIRSOFT!

For those who don’t know, airsoft is a game that is much like paintballing. Like paintball, airsoft played by two or more teams who run around a quarry or wooded area shooting at one-another. That’s where the similarity ends. Paintball is designed and marketed to be as far from a military/war game as possible, to the point where the “weapons” do not look like guns (except in a few cases) and are called “markers”. Airsoft on the other hand, is played using imitation firearms (M4s, M16s, AK47s, etc.) that look and feel the same as their “real steel” counterparts.

To give you an idea roughly what I’m talking about, here is a picture of me taken last week at an event in Kent (Image courtesy of Alex Beletski and Natalia Beletskaya):

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I’m holding a replica AK-47 SPETZNAZ which was my rental gun for the day, which as far as reliability goes isn’t terrible, but the range and accuracy are pretty poor due to the short barrel. I will likely go into the details about how barrel length, battery power and such affect a weapon’s performance later on when I’ve had a chance to play with a more extensive range of weapon types and variety of manufacturers.

To all who read for my painting or gaming articles, this is not the end of those! I will likely have some hobby progress to show you within the next fortnight!

Until next time!

Swarm Power! – Gamerz Nexus X-Wing Store Championship Report (Part 1)

Happy Easter everyone! Today’s offering is a report of last Sunday’s X-Wing tournament at Gamerz Nexus in Rayleigh, Essex. The tournament was a late-starter (5pm) so with a four round swiss followed by the cut, everyone knew it had the potential to be a very very long night…

To begin, let us examine my list:

Tala Squadron Z-95 x4
Bandit Squadron Z-95 x4

Eight ships, dead on 100 points, and a healthy mix of Pilot Skill four and two. I’d never run a swarm competitively before, and had been actively advised against running this list… As you can see, I ignored that advice 😉

Game One (Rob) – Wild Space Fringer (Outrider), Blue Squadron Pilot x2, Bandit Squadron Pilot

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Turn one saw the B-Wings and evil Bandit turn in towards the swarm, while the Outrider moved straight forward in an attempt to remain at a decent range for its Heavy Laser Cannons. The Swarm moved forward as quickly as it could manage, but there was no shooting.

Turn two saw the B-Wings and evil Bandit  move forward a lot slower while the Outrider turned left to engage the swarm and the swarm split up to engage the multitude of targets approaching it. The initial fire exchange saw a Bandit blown away by four Heavy Laser Cannon hits which weren’t evaded, but in return the Outrider and the evil Bandit both lost two shields.

Turn three saw the ranges closing up. A Tala Squadron Z-95 was destroyed in exchange for five shields and a hull point from one of the enemy B-Wings and a further three shields from the Outrider.

In turn four, the evil Rebels were bunched up to the point they all crashed into one-another while the Outrider blasted straight forward away from range one and back into Heavy Laser Cannon range. The bunching caused the remaining Talas to crash as the Bandits all K-Turn, the following round of shooting bringing down another Tala in exchange for the damaged B-Wing.

Turn five saw the ships break away from one-another, with the remaining evil Rebel fighters K-Turning and the Outrider trying to flee. The Outrider took two criticals and a hit from the pursuing Z-95s, injuring and blinding the pilot and preventing it from shooting that round.

Turn six saw the fleets moving in against one another again, with the Outrider suffering yet another Blinded Pilot result while the evil Bandit is swarmed and destroyed.

Turn seven saw the fight devolve into a turning knife-fight, and while my fleet had more firepower overall, it was feeling like it lacked the dice to do any decisive damage. That being said, the swarm stripped all five shields and a hull point from the surviving B-Wing for the loss of a Bandit.

Turns eight and nine saw the evil B-Wing attempt to K-Turn onto an asteroid, losing a hull point in the process. The remaining ships from the swarm followed and surrounded the Outrider, hitting it just enough to blow it out of space before they simultaneously K-Turned to blow the remaining B-Wing from the board.

Result: 100-50 victory

Game Two (Chris) – Rear Admiral Chiraneau, Carnor Jax, Academy Pilot

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Turn one saw the two squadrons accelerate towards each other at full speed, with Jax attempting to flank the swarm. Because of the Decimator moving so quickly with a large base, some shooting happened turn one – with a Bandit losing two shields and a second Bandit losing a single shield because of Ruthlessness. In return, Chiraneau lost three shields of his own.

Turn two saw everything close to point blank range. Chiraneau crashes into a Bandit and unleashes his rage on the shieldless Bandit, but in return finds himself the focus of the swarm’s wrath – his ship reduced from two remaining shields and twelve hull to a meagre five hull.

Turn three saw the Academy Pilot crash into an asteroid while Carnor continues to try and flank the swarm as it continues to surround and pursue Chiraneau – resulting in the Decimator becoming free-floating atoms.

First Decimator kill EVER!

Turns four and five saw the swarm divert its attention to Jax’s lovely red Interceptor, with the exception of the one critical that sneaks through onto the Academy Pilot and causes a Direct Hit!

Turns six and seven were essentially the end-game. First the swarm surrounded Jax and blew him away despite his preventing me spending focus tokens, and the Academy pilot fell to the guns of the swarm soon after.

Result: 100-12 victory

Game Three (Tom) – Soontir Fel, Howlrunner, Academy Pilot x4

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Swarm vs swarm… This couldn’t end well…

Turn one saw everything move foward to engage, the Imperials moving a little more sedately than I would have imagined…

Turn two saw me make my game-changing mistake. The swarm moved four forward, while the Academy Pilots had moved five forward – leaving me out of arc and out of position. My shooting accomplished absolutely nothing, and for my mistake I lost a Bandit.

Turn three saw pretty much everything K-Turn with the exception of Fel, who was off doing his own thing as he is wont to do. Howlrunner crashes into an asteroid, much to my opponent’s annoyance (and probably why from this point on he argued every close call he stood to benefit from). Here I get my revenge for my early mistake, stripping two hull points from an Academy Pilot and blowing Howlrunner off the asteroid she had perched on.

Turn four was a bit of a clusterfrag, with everything getting so close it crashed. Fel picked off a Z-95 while another Bandit picked off the damaged Academy Pilot.

Turn five saw some appalling flying on my part, with every ship crashing into another. There was (thankfully) no shooting however, I’d gotten away with this mistake!

Turns six and seven saw the minutes winding down. My opponent liked to take his time with his dials, which you can’t really afford to do with a swarm, and I was beginning to wonder if he was deliberately running down the clock because he was (at this point) going to get a modified win. That being said, the two final turns saw Fel kill a Tala in return for two Academy Pilots and two hull from Fel. Three hits against the damaged Interceptor at range one were met by three natural evades just after time was called – jammy bastard!

Result: 54-37 victory

Game Four (Dan) – Boba Fett (scum), Black Sun Soldier x3

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I hate scum Boba, I just want to get that out now – the ability to re-roll a die for every ship in range one is broken, it should be one per turn.

Turn one saw the Bandits all turn to face their opponents while the Black Sun and Boba all charge forward.

Turn two saw everything move into closer range, with Boba hitting a Bandit for two shields and a hull, but without taking any damage in reply (damn Heavy Laser Cannon…)

Turn three saw the Black Sun Soldiers crash and Fett piled into the back of them. Shooting from both sides accomplished nothing.

Turn four saw the Talas strip three shields and a hull from Boba in return for one Tala losing two shields and a hull, the final hit point being claimed by a Black Sun Soldier while a second Soldier kills the damaged Bandit. In return, the remaining Bandits pull three hull from Boba.

Turn five saw the Bandits and Talas deliberately crash so Boba cannot move (no actions for you!) and converge on the Black Sun Soldiers. Boba’s shooting is ineffective, while the Bandits swarm and destroy one of the Black Sun Soldiers.

Turn six saw the swarm scatter in a (successful) attempt to continue to prevent Boba moving and manage to knock two shields from a Black Sun Soldier, although this is punished (rather vindictively in my opinion) for the loss of a Tala.

Turn seven saw Fett bumping (again) while the remaining Black Sun Soldier tries to flee and in the attempt blows a Bandit out of space.

Turns eight and nine saw the remaining ships attempt (and fail) to block Boba, though they do manage to kill the remaining Black Sun Soldier and then finally manage to not only block Fett one last time, but also get enough hits through that not even his broken re-roll power could save him!

Result: 100-50 victory

So ended the swiss, at about 9.30PM. We were all tired, and though I knew I’d done well I wasn’t aware of how well anyone else had done… Turns out I was the only person with four wins, which put me into first place… My good friend Pete was in second, Tom (with the Imperial swarm) was third and Dan’s broken Fett list had come fourth.

All that was needed now was to play two more rounds and see which one of us would be crowned store champion. It was going to be a long night!

But that’s a story for another time, I think…

Sand-blasting – Paint stripping for the future?

i wanted to bring you something slightly different today, as I’ve been playing about with a new acquisition of my father’s that just so happens to fit on my compressor – an abrasion brush/air eraser.

So it looks like an airbrush and behaves like an airbrush, but rather than pair it sprays a layer of sand that in theory rubs off any paint on your model. This is an interesting idea, as in the UK the usual methods of removing paint from plastic models (Dettol or Fairy Powert Spray) have been rendered impossible due to formulaic changes that have made them much less potent.

I selected two models to strip, because they were to hand:

     

I loaded up the little hopper with sand, and after about half an hour of coating the inside of my conservatory with a fine layer of sand, this was what I was left with:

  

I admit it isn’t perfect, and is more labour intensive than simply leaving your model in your solution of choice, but it’s also a lot more fun to watch the paint flake off and fall away! Even better, you can re-use the sand to cut down on costs!

I wouldn’t recommend this for large models, purely because it would take you forever to do anything, but for small models or individual components this is definitely quicker. You could even use it as a weathering method!

The eraser in question cost £26, adding in a decent compressor and the whole lot will be in the range of £100+ but it is worth it,and if you already have a compressor because you have an airbrush, great!

That’s all for this meagre offering, as I now have to go wash my eyes out!

Until next time!