Saturday, May 20, 2017

Shadow War House Rules

A few House Rules my group has come up with for Shadow War. Mostly they're just intended to tweak things more to our liking, but there are a couple that fix things that seem like they're actual game design flaws.

Shadow War: Armageddon House Rules

Points may be carried over from initial Team Creation and Recruit/Rearm actions.
(The system as presented in the book works fine for those Factions, but it gets really problematic for several of the additional Factions added on the Warhammer Community website, and the DeathWatch Kill Teams below)

Any Model that has access to a Power Sword may take a Power Maul or Power Axe for the same Points Cost
(This felt like a weird lack to us. They all have Rules, and the few places where more than one are available, they all cost the same.)

Plasma Pistols/guns:
- When fired on max power, make an Overheat Roll if your to-Hit result does not require an Ammo Roll. An Overheat roll is exactly the same as an Ammo Roll, except that if it is failed, the weapon merely needs to cool down, and cannot be fired in the next Turn, but is otherwise fine. This replaces the Unreliable Special Rule.
- Improve the low power Strength to 5, and the Save Modifier to -2
- Neither of these apply to Plasma Calivers or Plasma Weapons used by Chaos Space Marines.

Real Sustained Fire Dice:
In previous editions, instead of using a d3, there were specific Sustained Fire Dice. These can be duplicated with a d6 on the following table:
1-2:    1 shot
3-4:    2 shots
5:    3 shots
6:    Jam

If one or more Jam results are rolled, some sort of minor malfunction has occurred. Continue to work out the Shooting Attack as normal if there were other Sustained Fire Dice that did not roll Jams. However, the user may not fire in the next Turn as they clear the Jam. They can, however, Move normally, even if the Jammed Weapon is Heavy. They can also clear a Jam in the same Turn that a Plasma Weapon is cooling down.
(These two are more about getting closer to the feel of 2nd Ed Sustained Fire/Plasma, and it also felt weird to have low-power Plasma essentially be a Bolt shot)

Chaos Marines:
- Chaos Space Marine Models may be upgraded to Chosen, gaining the Burly skill for 25 Points when first Recruited.
(The Bolter/Bolt Pistol/CCW loadout is kind of a signature CSM thing. Felt like they should be able to actually take advantage of it without a bunch of luck on the skill tables)

Alpha Legion:
- Cultists count as half of a Model for all relevant purposes (number of Recruits allowed in a KT, total KT size, number of Models allowed in Missions that restrict this, etc.). The one exception is when they are Reinforcements in The Raid Mission, in which case they count as the full number of Models, to represent the difficulty of getting them all organized.
- Cultists may take Bolt Pistols and Bolters at the CSM prices. However, the Ammo Roll for these is worsened to 6+
- A Cultist who is given an advance may instead be upgraded to a Specialist, and may subsequently be given a Flamer or Heavy Stubber at the same prices as Genestealer Cultists.
(Just for fun, really. Word Bearers could do something similar.)

Tyranid Warriors :
- Change DeathSpitter to 12/24” Range, Small Blast, remove Sustained Fire, +5 Points
- Scything Talons/Rending Claws: Change the Paired Rule to apply if the Model has two sets of either, or one of each.
(The DeathSpitter change is again to bring them back to an older version, where they actually had a distinct role, instead of just being a bigger version of a Devourer. Might need to be even a bit more expensive. The change to ScyTals and Rending Claws is because otherwise, there's no reason to take one pair of each, and that's an awesome looking loadout.)

DeathWatch Kill Teams:
- Standard SM Veteran Profile
- Start with Bolter, Knife, and Special Issue Ammunition
- 250 for Leader, 175 for Trooper, 200 for Specialist. No New Recruits
Special Issue Ammunition: All modifiers are to normal Bolter profile
- Kraken - Save Modifier of -2, +3” Short Range, +6” Long Range
- Hellfire - See Shadow War Rulebook
- DragonFire - Reduces to-Hit Modifiers for Cover by 1
- Vengeance - Save Modifier -4, -3” Short Range, -6” Long Range, Unreliable
Limited Issue: All Special Issue Ammo types have an Ammo Roll of 8+. However, when failed, this generally only means that that specific type of Ammo has run out. The exception is if the Ammo Roll was failed on a 2-4, in which case, the Bolter itself has jammed or become damaged, and cannot be used for the remainder of the Game.
- Stalker Pattern Boltgun: +20 Points, +3” Short Range, +6” Long Range, Silenced, no to-Hit modifier at any Range. The range modification stacks with those for Kraken or Vengeance rounds.
- Infernus Heavy Bolter with Suspensor Web: 300 Points. Heavy Weapon. May be fired either as Heavy Bolter or Heavy Flamer, but never suffers the move or fire restriction. A failed Ammo Roll means that the portion that failed cannot be used again, but the other part may still be used as normal.
- DeathWatch Frag Cannon: 225 Points. Heavy Weapon, but never suffers the move or fire restriction.
* Frag:  Template, S6, no Save Modifier. Rolls of 6 to Wound have a Save Modifier of -3. Ammo Roll 7+
* Solid Shell: 0-12" Short, 12-24" Long. No to-Hit modifier for any Range. S8, Save Modifier -5, Damage d6, Ammo Roll 7+
- Otherwise, use the Chaos Space Marine Equipment List, with the exception that no Model may take Inferno Bolts, Blight Grenades, or an Autocannon.
(These guys have had zero playtesting. Just for fun.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Squaduary: Better Late than Never

Due to a variety of issues, I didn't manage to finish my Squaduary pledge on time. I actually wasn't nearly as late with it as this post indicates (got them tabletop ready in the first week of April), but I also ran into a bunch of delays getting pics taken, editing them, and getting around to actually writing this up and posting it. Anyhow, there's still a ton of work that could be done on them, but they're at the point where I would be perfectly happy taking them to an event or something. The rest is basically just a picspam, so I'm going to put it under a cut. Y'all have a good one, y'hear!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What Lurks in the Shadows of Acheron (WiP)

Just a quick post here, trying to keep myself putting up something. Shadow War (and the teasers for 8th) has also served to rekindle my interest in Nids, which had been on the wane for a long time, and resulted in me boxing them up and putting them in storage shortly after 7th arrived. I haven't actually unpacked them, but I did pull out an unbuilt set of Warriors I had, and I've started painting them up as a HF Leviathan Kill Team for Shadow War. I chose Leviathan in large part because it's very similar to the scheme I want to use for my Keeper of Secrets, which I've stalled out on because I've been nervous of screwing the next stage up, so this way I can get some practice on Models that I'm not nearly as invested in. Anyhow, here's the first one as it stands so far:
Needs a bunch of touchup, and at least one more layer of highlights on everything (two on most parts). Also, the other side isn't nearly as far along, I've barely done any of the followup Rakarth Flesh on that side after washing the whole thing with Druchii Violet. Still, coming along nicely, and giving my some more confidence about being able to do the Keeper justice with her paint job.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What We Do in the Shadow War

I had been getting really excited about Shadow War, and was a bit nervous that the actual experience would disappoint. It did not. Got in a couple of Games on Saturday, and even tho they both ended up being fairly straightforward, we could see how much possibility there is here. I remembered to take pics for one, so here's a mini-BatRep:
Kharvash the Reaver leads the Culties on the offensive. He learns to drive them before him in the future
Gunner Urthgu attempts to take out a couple of Immortals as they move into his field of fire, but misses badly, leaving Kharvash to get gunned down by Gauss fire
Before he can extract vengeance, Urthgu has problems of his own, as a Deathmark teleports in right by him and snipes down a Cultist
Despite being encumbered by his Autocannon, Urthgu Charges down to confront the interloper...

...Only to be downed by the Xenos assassin, who doesn't even need to turn to look to drop his prey!
Tivzitch, the last standing CSM, decides that it's time to take the remaining Culties and GTFO
Sorry about the pic quality. I just had my phone, not my real camera.

I think we need to mix up the Terrain a bit better in the future. There were too many solid buildings, combined with high stuff that didn't really break up LoS too much, so the one really good approach across the Board was also too good of a fire lane. On top of that, I forgot about the requirement to shoot the nearest guy, and put my Leader out in front of the Culties, cinematically leading them on. Gonna make them go first to soak up some fire in the future.

The other Game probably would have made a better BatRep, but I forgot to take any pics at all. Ended up being a total charlie foxtrot of a Raid, with my Opponent putting the Objective over near a board edge, which of course ended up being the edge I rolled for my Deployment Zone. But I realised too late that I didn't have any Krak Grenades or anything, because I had only considered other Fighters as targets, so it devolved into a mess of close firefights and HtH, with both of us starting to take Bottle Tests very quickly. My opponent failed his first (reasonable, as I had inflicted heavy casualties, and only lost one of my four Raiders), giving me the win this time.

We also discussed a number of House Rules. The main one we're implementing is letting people save Points from their initial build and Resupply actions, rather than having to spend them all in one go. For a number of the additional Factions, spending Points only in 100 Point blocks gets really awkward, and it's near crippling for Tyranid Warriors in particular. We'll see if it ends up letting Teams grow too fast, and if so, will look into some way of reducing how many Points are awarded each Mission.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Sector Mechanicus Terrain

I got my copy of Shadow War: Armageddon yesterday, and because our usual Game day got cancelled this weekend, and I can already put together Kill Teams for half a dozen Factions from my collection, I've been getting stuck in to the Terrain from the box*. This is a really cool Terrain line. I actually got kind of overwhelmed by all the possibilities and just put together the half-dozen structures that they give directions in the box to get a feel for it. Once I get some more cash saved up, and the rest of the line gets released, I'm going to be getting several more of these kits (mostly the ones with lots of gantries and walkways), and getting way more creative with them.
As you can see, while this isn't really enough Terrain in the one box for a proper table, it's quite a lot. I actually kind of wish I'd thought to pull out a couple of larger Models to give a better sense of scale for that shot. The walkway could actually just barely fit a Rhino, and a Land Raider easily has both horizontal and vertical clearance underneath.

I do have a couple of minor issues with it, not in and of itself, but just as it relates to other things. More specifically, the walkways are all raised in ~5" intervals, which means it doesn't really match up with either the Sector Imperialis kits or old Necromunda Terrain. It also means that most Models in SW:A, having a Move value of 4, can't make it up a level in a single regular Move. Similarly, when using them for regular 40K, it's going to be really hard to move a Unit up or down in a reasonable amount of time without getting dangerously clumped up, especially if there's also Difficult Terrain involved. In both cases, you can call Wobbly Model Syndrome, and I think I might actually have to make some markers to hook on the ladders for where Models are, but it's still sort of frustrating.

I also plan on using a bunch of Necromunda bulkheads I have around and some plasticard to make some mid-layer stuff to interlace with it, and make it easier to get from one level to another in a single Turn. Combined with the frankly ludicrous number of Munitorum Container sets that my group has, and we should be able to mitigate those issues quite a bit. I'll probably also pick up a set or two of Promethium Pipelines at some point, since we've got some Haemotrope Reactors, and it's a bit sparse on ground-level cover, but once it's all together, it should make for some awesome tables.

Actually, that reminds me of something else: That big platform and walkway structure up there is actually three separate chunks that are held to each other using some of the clips that come on the sprues. You can't really see it, but the tank/pipeline/smokestack arrangement sort of in the middle is also two parts that just pressure-fit together, which pretty much any of the pipeline sections/attachments can do, so it's pretty easy to keep it modular and get some really different setups every time. Can't wait 'til next weekend to actually play on it!

Until next time, y'all have a good one, y'hear!

*Side note: The box for this thing is hardcore. I've used less sturdy boxes to ship stuff halfway around the world. Definitely keeping it around, just for general storage. It's nicer than a lot of the plastic tubs and such that I have for a bunch of my stuff.

Monday, April 10, 2017

8th Ed Rumours and Reactions

Sticking with the reliable ones, from the Warhammer Community Post:
  • Three Ways to Play
    I am a huge fan of this. The 40K Community as it stands today isn't a good fit for the kind of open-ended play that 6th and 7th seem to have been designed for. People travel too much, and play in too many different places, to be able to just work things out each time. Some sort of consistency is needed, and it will go over far better coming from GW than from outside groups like the ITC.
  • Army Selection/Command PointsTo me, this sounds a lot like one of the two main arguments for Formations: Providing extra bonuses for fluffy lists. And as with Formations, I like the concept, but it's really going to depend on the execution, and how balanced the "Command Point" system ends up being.
  • Movement ValuesI'm fine either way with this one, honestly. I like the extra variety that varied movement rates bring in, and it's definitely fluffy for a Howling Banshee or Tyranid Warrior to be able to move faster than a Guardsman or Ork.
  • Save ModifiersMixed feelings here. I recall this being one of the things that slowed down 2nd to some extent, and I do like the simple binary nature of the AP system. Also, back in the day, I heard a fluff-based argument for it that has always made sense to me:
    Let's take Power Armour as an example. It has stronger and weaker areas. A solid hit (i.e. successful to-Wound Roll) to a joint or eyepiece with basically any Weapon will go through. A hit on the plating will bounce most things just fine, no matter where on the plating. So if the AP value is worse than 3, it all comes down to whether or not the Attacker manages to hit one of those weak spots, which the Game abstracts to a 1/3 chance. If the AP is 3 or better, it will go right through any part of the Power Armour, plating or gap, so it just denies it altogether.
    The Save Modifier system, on the other hand, starts from the basis that all Armour is composed of a variety of variably durable materials, so that a cheap slug-thrower has still that same 1/3 chance of hitting something it'll punch through, while a Bolter will find something half the time, and a Heavy Bolter two times in three. And it assumes that the distributions of those various strengths are the same across all makes of 3+ Armour, whether that's Loyalist or Traitor Power Armour, Dark Reaper Aspect Armour, or a Carnifex's Carapace.
  • Chargers Strike FirstGetting the Charge is already pretty crucial for most Assault Units, and the ones that are good at absorbing Charges, it's generally because of their durability, not because they get to hit first. It does help some things, notably Orks, but it leads to just as many weird situations as the current system. Instead of Stealers going last because of some tall grass on the way in, now Guardsmen can strike before them if they Charge, even with the Stealers in an amazing defensive position.
  • MoraleAnother take it or leave it change. Well, something should change, there are too many things that largely or completely ignore Morale as it is, but I don't really care if that takes the form of switching to a Battleshock-type system, or nerfing ATSKNF and reducing the availability of Fearless.
So, overall, a pretty positive impression, from what we've heard so far. Most things either positive or neutral to me, with a couple really dependent on the specifics of how they work across various Armies. When all's said and done, tho, this is gonna be my seventh 40K edition change, and I'm sure I'll adapt, as I have to the previous six.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

And the Last Shall Be First

I finally got a chance to get my Alpha Legion on the table with the Traitor Legions supplement, and dude, they are so much fun. I narrowly beat an Ultramarines Victrix Strike Force with Roboute Guilliman, because, while I wasn't able to come close to matching his combat power (he utterly destroyed everything he made contact with, including my Terminators+Chaos Lord and Sorcerer, which he downed in 1 Assault Phase), massed Infiltration let me control the board well enough that I was able to stay on top of the Objectives and keep the lead.

The Mindveil did totally betray me, tho. The one Turn I really needed it, I only ended up getting 5" of movement, when I only needed like 9" to be able to get away from Bobby G.

On the other hand, Many Heads of the Hydra (or as I like to call it, "I am...NOT Alpharius) saved the Game for me by preserving that Warlord point, which ended up being a big deal, since the Game came down to a 1 Point difference at the end. Very fun Game, one of the best I've had in a while. Definitely looking forward to getting them more table time.