Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The Great Distractor!

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If you’re a Warhammer nerd like me, you probably know that the reboot of Warhammer Fantasy—Age of Sigmar—has been rebooted again. AOS 2nd edition is out now and is all the buzz among the swarming flies of Nurgle. I never played AOS 1st edition and don’t see any major changes into 2nd, but I have been assured by others that the changes are worthwhile.

Having never gotten into the game, though, now I am tempted. And my friend Josh is pushing the issue. He’s always happy to aid in any corruption, and trying to loop me into a new game and new models is not going to help get my list of novels-yet-to-be written!

Quit trying to shove that monkey on my back, Josh!

Although, I must say… It is a pleasant monkey…

I do like AOS’s approach, versus the latest edition of Warhammer 40K. This is the 8th and most dramatic change for 40K, which is my greater love of nerdly tabletop warfare. (While I’ve always been big in both fantasy and science fiction in general, sci-fi holds a slightly higher spot for me.) I must admit, though—and I think anyone who knows would agree—that 40K and Fantasy get more and more alike with each new edition. 8th-ed 40K took on a very AOS aspect from its former versions. I have now played exactly one game of 8th edition and it was still pretty clunky, since it was my first game. There are things I like and things I don’t.

And from what I can tell, Age of Sigmar does this new approach far better.

I like that nearly every unit in the game has some special rule that it can bring into play. This is especially important given that the stat lines of most units are pretty damn nearly the same. Almost all weapons are some variety of 3+ or 4+ rolls of the dice. If it weren’t for these other flavorful rules for each unit, they’d all be the same damn thing!

40K hasn’t done this quite as well. Maybe because there is already so much variety in the game? Each army has an awful lot of unit types. Maybe, too, because there’s a much bigger variety of shooty weapons in 40K? I suppose there isn’t as great a need for individual special rules with so many weapons and vehicles to choose from.

I also like the new command points rules in AOS, giving players more special stunts to pull per turn. Plus the blending of factions, special formation traits that aren’t overwhelming and are available depending on how “pure” your force is. As well as the free magic weapon and artefacts you can get.

I’m not delving into specifics here because if you’ve read this far, you probably already know more about it than I do. Let’s just say, I like the way this is going. And damn it, I don’t have time for another game and another army!

But if I did…

I bought the huge Chaos grand alliance book the other day. I can envision a Chaos force built from many factions…

  • The core warband would be composed of Slaves to Darkness and/or Hosts of Slaanesh forces. The general would have to be a cool centerpiece model. A Slaaneshi lord on a daemonic mount, for example, or a sorcerer on a manticore. (That model kicks ass!) The Lord of Chaos on foot has the potential to become both a daemon prince and a spawn! Bonus either way. He’d likely not be my commander, but I like the idea of driving him forward, knowing he’s got reincarnation in his pocket whether he succeeds or not. Then I’d have some chaos warriors on foot and some marauders on horseback throwing javelins. (I like to have some ranged weapons in my forces—a variety of tools in the toolbox makes it strategically more versatile.) A badass chariot would just look cool. And I have a box of Empire flagellants still waiting to be put together. I could paint them all chaotic and call them “chaos fanatics” and count them as marauders on foot with flails. J
  • Most of the minions of the warband—the bulk of throw-away bodies sent in to kill or die, or both—would be beastmen. I want a Bray Shaman to lead them. He gives me magic plus the potential for more monsters with his summoning powers. Then two units of beastman infantry with blue war paint striped on them would just look cool as hell.
  • Of course, the overlords of Chaos, the puppeteers pulling strings behind the veil of reality, are daemons! I tend toward Slaanesh these days, so I’d want either units on the table or some on the side for summoning—or both! A Keeper of Secrets or daemon prince, daemonettes, seekers, some mortal hellstriders with big hooked whips. That’s fun shit. Plus, I like the Tzeenchy stuff too. Their characters have the potential to make spawns of the enemy, which is awesome. And having a nice big unit of pink horrors gives me more ranged firepower, and an extra spell to boot!
  • The final aspect of my motley crew: Monsters! Chaos ogres, trolls, chimera, cockatrice, dragons, spawn, warhounds, whatever! The bigger and uglier the better!

Of course, I probably won’t be able to squeeze all that in one army, but you get the idea.

But, like I try to tell Josh, I can’t be starting over with a new game and new models! But it is fun to keep in mind. And maybe slowly, overtime, I might get to doing that. (Even though I already have more 40K shit than I know what to do with…)

Aaaand, everytime time I tell myself I can’t get into it, I come up with more ways that I can… Maybe I’ll just inventory what models I have and see where it goes from there…

 

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Warhammer 40K, neXt edition: Overwatch

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I’ve decided to throw all my radical 40K ideas under “neXt edition” with an emphasis on the “X”. Sounds good for now, right? Might change again by the time I brainstorm more rules; you know, when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting on the throne or something like that.

Today I was waiting at the VA medical clinic and thinking about my previous idea on overwatch revamping. My latest development, then, is this:

OVERWATCH

When a unit declares a charge on yours, you can elect to fire overwatch. You don’t have to, as you only get one overwatch attempt/shot per turn. If you don’t think those guys are going to make it, you might want to save it for another potential charger. You might also decide you’d rather prepare for combat than take pot shots (see below).

In order to muster your troops for a last second volley of shots against a unit charging your position, your squad/models must make a successful Leadership roll. If the unit is influenced by a squad leader or sergeant, HQ model aura, whatever, use that Leadership/modifier, as well as any negative buffs that might reduce their Ld.

If they succeed on their Ld roll, they may fire on the chargers at their normal BS and at the same range as they are when the charge is declared. Weapons out of this range may not fire. Rapid fire, assault, and pistols may fire. Heavy weapons, artillery, and vehicle weapons may not. Once shots are fired, the chargers make their charge roll and move forward to engage. They may or may not fail this charge due to a bad roll or possibly being out of range now due to now-dead models.

If the Ld roll is failed, the overwatch squad attempts to get it together but fails. They’ve spent their overwatch attempt this turn and still are “unready for combat.”

Units that attempt and/or succeed at Overwatch shots are considered “Unready for Combat” when they receive the chargers. This means that for the remainder of this combat round, they count as Initiative 1 no matter their normal Init value. Even if this charge fails and someone else charges them, they still have Init 1 because of their firing actions.

Basically, you need discipline to muster your troops to fire in time. And whether they quite make it or not, they are trying to shoot rather than preparing to fight, so they’ll fight last if any of the chargers make it.

Therefore:

  1. Unit A (assault) declares a charge again Unit S (shooters).
  2. S weighs their options. They decide to attempt Overwatch and are now dedicated to the results. (Just as A is now dedicated to the charge, whether it works or not.) 
  3. S makes a Leadership check. If successful, models with appropriate weapons fire at A where they stand, using normal BS and shooting rules. If they fail the Leadership check, they cannot fire. Either way, they only get one Overwatch attempt per turn.
  4. After resolving Overwatch shots, any remaining A models roll their 2D6 charge range and resolve the charge.
  5. For the remaining Combat phase, all models in S have Initiative 1, against A and any other combatants (even if they couldn’t fire their weapon).  

How’s that sound?!

I like it!

Warhammer 40K: 5th Edition

Guess what I found?!

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It’s been about two weeks now that we finally got all our stuff that was stored in California (coming from Japan) and Texas (left there in 2014). Holy poop do I have a lot of boxes! And books! And Warhammer guys! Finally see it all accumulated in one place honestly makes me feel a little ashamed of myself…

But I’ve learned that if you ever get rid of any of your Warhammer models, you later wish you hadn’t, and maybe even go so far as to buy more to replace the ones you sold! So I won’t get rid of any. But the books, I can do without some of those.

But back to the topic at hand: 5thEdition Warhammer 40K.

I miss this edition! This was the game I came back to in 2008 when I also came back to the Navy and, as a single ensign finally making a decent income, I could actually afford to buy the toys I always wanted. And, boy, did I! Way too many. I can now easily field forces of chaos marines, daemons, eldar, loyalist marines (mostly crimson fists), and space wolves, plus some allied orks, dark angels, whatever!

Flipping through this book makes me really want to go back to it. (No shit, I intend to find someone who wants to play. I probably still have all the codices too!) Some of the things I miss:

  • The Universal Special Rules only take up 3 pages of this mini-sized book, and one-half a page is a picture!
  • Vehicles don’t have hull points. Tanks and dreadnoughts take a beating like they should!
  • A power weapon cuts armor, period. No APs, just make your save or don’t.
  • Only three turns: Move, Shoot, Fight.
  • There’s offensive and defensive grenades, just general classifications. I like that. Offensive grenades allowed you to charge through cover without losing your Initiative (do they still have Initiative at all anymore?!). Defensive grenades denied assaulters the +1 attack for charging. (Okay, maybe the grenade rules weren’t the best ever… What fun are they if you can’t throw them at people and blow them up?)
  • I always liked that there were model types, like infantry, bikes, etc, that all functioned the same way for the most part. So you know the move rate, special rules, etc.
  • You can charge out of reserve and assault vehicles! 6thed, I believe, took away the main function of units like striking scorpions and genestealers by having them walk onto the board and then pause to be shot at. 5thed knew better!

Today we kind of praise 8thedition (which I still haven’t played, but would like to try it) for it being “simplified.” But 5thedition was much more simplified than anything after it. It was easy to play, uncomplicated, and a hell of a lot of fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I like some aspects of the further incarnations, but it sure seems like the adage of “If a little is good, a lot must be great!” was applied over and over again.

Now that I have my toys, I’ll (eventually) try to get me some 8thed games to try it out. But I’d go back to 5thedition in a heartbeat!

A few more of my unsolicited opinions:

FORCE ORG

I do like the new puzzle-piece 8thforce org system. You can basically take whatever you want, but there’s a logic to it, a way to fit pieces together that make it more legit. I always enjoyed that aspect of list-building: that there is some structure you must follow, minimums to meet that keep everyone on an even keel.

But those formations or whatever they were… Basically, the more money you spend the more special powers you get. That crap was unfair. Too much.

For a hybrid version of 40K, maybe you start with the original FO chart, but can purchase extra slots for points. So you can have that 4thHeavy or 3rdHQ choice, but it costs a little extra. (Personally, I think there should be a 3rdHQ slot anyway—those guys are the superheroes of the war, after all!)

OVERWATCH

I don’t think there was Overwatch in 5thed. I both like it and don’t. I think in 8thyou can fire it at EVERY unit that charges you, can’t you? That’s way too much.

I’d almost like to make Overwatch kind of like this:

You get one use per turn of it. If you don’t think the first unit charging is going to make it, hold your fire, save it for that other, closer unit that you think it coming.

Also, you need to make an Initiative test in order to pull it off. If you’re not quick enough, you don’t get your weapons up in time. The trade-off to that could be that you get to fire at your regular BS rather than only hitting on 6s.

And I can already hear Tau players hating this idea! Especially since they generally have Inits of 2. Tau could then have an army special rule like “Disciplined Firing Line” or something to that effect, that gives them a +1 to Init for Overwatch checks.

PSYKERS:

I believe in 5thpsykers can only use one power per turn too. (I don’t have the rule book in front of me right now.) I’d say that can be expanded by the psyker’s level.

I did kind of like the Warhammer Fantasy “Winds of Magic” rules that came over to 40K (was that 6thed?). A random number of dice where you have to use some resource management.

But no, I’d say psyker tests are back to Leadership tests and that they can use a number of powers equal to their level: elite or unit-based models would be level 1, HQ psykers level 2, special characters level 3. They can use that many powers per turn, once each (no repeating powers in the same turn). And they would know that number of powers as well, unless otherwise stated in their special rules (like superhero characters who know all in their discipline.)

“Deny the Witch” I think was a newer development…  We could keep that, but maybe like this: Only a psyker can attempt a Deny the Witch. The “spell” would have to either originate or target a model within 18” of the Denier for them to be in range. They would make their own Leadership test. If it beats (is lower than) the caster’s roll, they deny it. A power that went off on double 1s can’t be denied.

Psychic Hoods extend that range to 24” and give them a +1 (well, -1 really) to their Deny roll.

Okay, that’s enough nostalgia and day dreaming for me for now. Just know that discovering that little lost rule book deep inside a box stored away for 4 years really brought me back.

And speaking of bringing back, BRING BACK 5THEDITION!

Or, as I tell my friend Josh all the time, you can play any damn version you want if you and your buds agree on doing so. So, who wants to play some 5th…?

Warhammer 40K 7.5 Edition??

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For some reason, last weekend, I woke up thinking about this.

I haven’t played 8th edition yet, but I can see some pluses and minuses to it all. I’ll reserve judgement for when I actually get to play. And now that I’m back in the States, that may be possible… someday soon.

All my stuff is still in storage awaiting our arrival to our final destination, which we haven’t reached yet. My family got here in January, I officially got “out” at the end of February, but we haven’t yet settled to where we ultimately will be going. Still living in a crappy, overpriced apartment on a card table and rented couch. (No wonder I’m stressed, eh?!)

But once we do, I’ll have my vast armies of tiny men delivered, and THEN maybe I can play! (Damn, it’ll be four years since I have played!)

But anyway, what I was basically thinking of as 40K 7.5 would be mostly 7th edition rules, but pretty much using 5th edition vehicle rules.

That would take digging out your older tomes for those stats and tables, but most of us probably have them. (Is anyone else tired of buying all new $50+ books every other year??!!)

My biggest issue with 6th and 7th editions was the “glance to death” aspect for vehicles. Never should have come about. A tank should act like a tank: take a helluva beating and keep on fighting! Same for a dreadnought (walking tank) and everything else. Pistol fire should not bring down the armored vehicles of the distant future!

I would also scrap the whole thing where the more money you spend, the more special rules you get. What were those called? “Detachments” or “formations” or something? Whoever gives GW the most money gets the best rules? What a load of crap!

And I think apocalypse games belong to apocalypse games. If you don’t plan to play with giant machines that cannot be stopped, you shouldn’t have to fight them. But that’s a minor thing.

I do think 8th edition got the detachments and army building bit right. I always enjoyed puzzle-piecing my forces together based on a set of force org rules. And I like what they’ve done. And I do like that the “40,000 rules” have been pruned down to some really easy, basic stuff.

Like I said, have to play it yet to make a judgement call. But I came back in the days of 5th edition (before that, my last game had been first edition), and really enjoyed that. A mechanized monster like a dreadnought should be able to take missile after missile! I like that you can now charge out of reserve, everyone is a little more killy. But 7th got a lot of stuff right too, like the objective cards and such…  A lot of the random stuff got taken out of the game, like deep striking and barrage weapons, and those gambles made the game fun. Maybe someday I’ll get with a group and we’ll cobble together our own edition. Take these rules from here, those rules from there… It would be difficult to find a balance that way, as each edition has recalculated for their own stuff, but it’d be doable.

Meantime, once my little men arrive from a distant galaxy, I’ll have to try out 8th edition and see how it plays. Until then, I’ll keep planning out my 7.5 edition rules…

An Aeldari New Year: 40K After Y2K

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I’ve had the Warhammer 40K monkey off my back for the most part of the last three years, being stationed here in Japan where I had no one to play with. And no time to mess with it.

But now that I’m counting down the days left here (about 17 right now, if you’re keeping track), I decided to bust some nerd kits back out. Actually, I just want to use some expensive Citadel-brand spray paints before I move, ‘cuz you can’t take them with you. Literally, you can’t ship potentially explosive cans of spray paint. I inherited some from another guy who couldn’t take them either, and now I face the same situation. Use ’em or lose ’em.

So I’m using them, trying to put together some models I’ve literally had for YEARS and get a nice base coat of paint on them. The only army I brought with me was my Eldar, thinking that in three years I’d get the whole bunch of them painted. That didn’t happen. Too many higher priorities. But I’m getting some done now. And here’s what I got so far.

Above is another of my custom made Dark Reapers. I used mostly Dark Eldar kits with a fantasy Dark Elf head wearing a skull-faced mask. This young lady fills out a squad of five.

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Continuing my use of Dark Eldar as Craftworld badasses, these are three of what will be six “Shining Spear” aspect bikers. My fluff is that they are Samm Hain Wild Riders with an array of vicious, super-charged weaponry.  The faster they fly, the more kinetic energy their whips, flails, and swords charge up.

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Here are some more of the staple of any good Eldar force, my Dire Avengers. I love me some aspect warriors, and these guys are the noble warriors incarnate. (I don’t bother with Guardians anymore.)

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I don’t mix Dark Eldar parts with these guys. Well, okay, I did throw a head in there. Once painted, I plan to lay his helmet at his feet. I do try to make some unique characters out of some among the squad, even though they’re all alike on the stats.

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I had extra parts for one more model, so I made this guy. He could be another avenger exarch (which I have plenty of), or even an autarch. Though with so many, far cooler HQ choices, why on earth would I take one of those?!  (Unless it’s to get a biker character. I have done that in the past and enjoyed using him.) For this model, I was also experimenting with a ninja kung-fu pose. Turned out okay.

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And finally, one of my favorite Phoenix Lords, though I don’t use him very often: Asurmen, first of the Dire Avengers. This is a classic DA exarch model I’ve had since the 90s. I just add a the catapult bracer to his sword arm and replaced his pointy arm with a new plastic one.

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Asurmen deserves a cooler model, but this will do just fine. He’s bigger and more intimidating than the rest. I’ve never seen one of the official Asurmen models up close, but the pictures just look too bulky and clumsy.

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And, by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Personally, I’ll be working night shifts on the 31st, 1st, and 2nd. Sucks,eh?

But those are MY LAST SHIFTS. EVER. I start checking out of here next week, then back to the States mid-month. So I’ll take the holiday hit with a smile. 🙂

Okay, 5am here, gotta get to bed! Nighty-night, 2017!

 

 

 

 

Fuegan: Eldar Phoenix Lord of Fire Dragons

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Monday was my birthday and I made a resolution for the day: “I will square off a time slot to paint and finish Fuegan’s cape!” And that’s what I did.

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I had some idea in mind when I set about to paint it, but it evolved with each color added. I started with shades of green and imagined some blue on the back but was reluctant to try it. But as I mixed greens and blues and layered stuff (not intending to layer, just to find the right color that suited my mind’s eye), I realized that I did indeed have to use that brilliant electric blue!  And I really like how it came out. I then hit the edges with a lighter green and that really punched it up! Really happy with it.

I then hit the eyes again and watered down some green for the sword, mostly to tie all those greens together. If I had a green cloak on his back, I needed some other point of green at another angle somewhere to bring it full circle.

So my “Black Phoenix” fire dragon lord is not armed with the “Fire Axe” but the “Dragon’s Talon,” a sword that smolders with the heat of emerald plasma and cuts through everything it touches, yes, “like a hot knife through butter!”

So then I got camera happy again…

Here’s “The Prom King and Queen.”

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I call this one “The Color Purple” or “The Prom King and Queen (with Chaperone).”

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And here’s the whole gang, all themed together, “The King and His Court.”

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I also have a warlock I’d like to knock out that was a former dragon with the same color scheme. I think I could get him done pretty quickly, but I doubt that’s going to happen tonight. I’m also inspired to experiment with Howling Banshees but with all the stuff I have to do, I don’t think I’ll be doing any more painting until after the epic move in January. (Except maybe assembling some models and spray basing them, since I can’t take these expensive spray paints I inherited with me.)

40K Eldar Fire Dragons: Finished Up Painting the Squad

After starting them in July, I finally wrapped up my “Black Phoenix” Aeldari Fire Dragons.  And I’m pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out!

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This probably doesn’t look like 3 months of work.  Because it isn’t.  I stuck to a very basic concept: base colors, wash, highlight, DONE.  And I decided not to get bogged down in the fine details, like painting every little gadget on their belts a different color or whatever.  Kept it simple.  It just took forever because I went weeks between painting sessions.  Still spent plenty of hours on them, but as I did a whole squad, one color at a time, I made pretty good progress.

Still didn’t master dry brushing, which I seem to think would make all this way easier, but hitting the highlights very deliberately instead still worked out well.

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I also considered trying to lay some green plasma looking stuff into the grills of their fusion gun muzzles to match their eyes and give the guns a cool look.  (And tie in another color to bring them together.)  It’s still tempting to try, but I’m also afraid of screwing them up in the process…  (What do you think???)

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It’s funny that they’re done now, because I swam laps yesterday and had a flashback to 2009 or 2010 when I used to think about “How am I going to paint those fire dragons?” to keep my mind occupied while I swam.  And now, like 8 years (!) later, they’re done!  (Actually, I don’t think I had my “dark” aspect warriors built then—it was classic Eldar dragon models at that time.)

Almost finished with my custom Fuegan.  I hollowed out a cloak for him that I have to paint and attach.  His sword I might just keep simple too rather than try to pull off some great magical effect that doesn’t turn out how I want.  We’ll see.