Thursday 30 March 2017

Pew Pew Pew- The Evolution of the Shooting Phase in 40k

Welcome to my ongoing series looking at the evolution of 40k. With 8th edition seemingly looming on the horizon, now looked like a good time to take a look at the evolution of the shooting phase. 

The shooting phase has always been a major component of 40k. It has seen some radical changes since the early days of second edition, with each new edition of the game seeming to increase the power of this particular phase. The most recent rumours released by Games Workshop seem to imply that some aspects of 2nd edition may be returning to the game, so it is interesting to me to look back and see where we have come from. 

Most players with agree that it is one of the most powerful phases in the game, with many games being decided in the shooting phase. 

2nd edition (1993-1998)- Modifying your Success 
The rules for the shooting phase in 2nd edition 40k are quite different to the current state of the game. All models were restricted to a front 90 degree firing arc, meaning that model placement and positioning was even more important in 2nd edition than in the current game. True Line of Sight was also used in this edition, with the effects of cover affecting the To Hit values for units. For example, soft cover (such as hedges, shrubs and most vegetation) incurred a -1 To Hit penalty, whereas hard cover (walls, buildings, craters, etc) incurred a -2 To Hit penalty. 

The actual system for determining whether a unit was hit has remained unchanged since this time. The ballistic skill value of a unit was used to determine the die roll required for the shot to be successful. For example, a Space Marine attempting to shoot an Ork behind soft cover would require a 4+ to hit (a ballistic skill of 4 requiring a 3+, with a -1 penalty for soft cover).

In 2nd edition, units had to shoot at the closest enemy unit. However, units could ignore enemy units in cover or units that were fleeing. In addition, units could choose to ignore or specifically target enemy vehicles. This meant that cheap screening units were of particular importance in 2nd edition, as these units could be used to shield more valuable units in your army from enemy fire power. Also, the target would have to be chosen without measuring the distance between the units. If the enemy unit was out of range, then the shorts were wasted. This meant that estimating the distance between your units was a very valuable skill to have in 2nd edition 40k, as poor guessing of distances resulted in more wasted shots in the shooting phase. 

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Guest Post on The Burning Eye

Recently, Nick from The Burning Eye recently asked if I would be interested in putting together some thoughts on maelstrom missions for his Tactical Insight series. 

I was happy to do so, and it was posted yesterday. You can check out "Taming the Maelstrom" on his blog where I talk about my approach to maelstrom games and offer some tips on hopefully improving your game. 

Monday 27 March 2017

Rise of the Primarch Review: Part 3- Forces of the Ultramarines

The third part of my Rise of the Primarch review looks at the new rules for Ultramarines in the book; new warlord traits, Relics and formations.

Warlord Traits
The third Gathering Storm book presents a new warlord traits table for Ultramarines army. 

Noble Visage- This provides your warlord with a 12" re-roll bubble for morale, pinning and fear tests. A nice bonus that works on all armies of the imperium faction. 

Warden of Ultramar- Warlord gains Counter-Attack. This could be useful on a combat-centric unit.

Paragon of War- Warlord gains Preferred Enemy. Given the number of re-rolls available to Ultramarines, getting more re-rolls to wound will boost their damage output further. 

Master of Strategy- Add 4 to seize the initiative roll. This is awesome, seizing on a 2+ is a game changer and will be a big boost if you get this. Allowing your opponent to set up first, countering their deployment and having a very good chance of seizing will give you a great boost in your games, 

Master of Tactics- Allows you to discard a Tactical Objective card at the start of your turn and draw another. This is a big boost in maelstrom missions and should help significantly increase your score in these games. 

Adept of the Codex- Warlord and units within 6" get Split Fire. This could be useful in certain situations, but counting on this at the list building stage is not worth it, so it may have limited uses in your game. 

Overall, a decent set of traits. Master of Strategy and Master of Tactics seem solid to me. I think that most of the warlord traits from Codex Space Marines are just as good, if not better.

Thursday 23 March 2017

Rise of the Primarch Review: Part 2- Roboute Guilliman

Part 2 if my Rise of the Primarch review takes a look at the main man himself; Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines.

Roboute Guilliman
The Ultramarines' Primarch is a Lord of war that can be included in any Armies of the Imperium force. At 350 pts, he is pricey, but he comes with a great statline, serious combat potential and a host of special rules that make him a worthy inclusion in an army.

First off, let's look at durability. He is T6, with 6 wounds, a 2+ armour save, 3+ invulnerable save, Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain. That is a pretty impressive list and makes him a pretty durable model. In addition, his relic armour means that when he is slain, he returns to the field with D3 wounds on a 4+.
Most units in the game are going to struggle to take him out in shooting or in combat. However, given the current state of competitive 40k, this will not be too much trouble for many units either. A couple of rounds of serious grav cannon fire will probably take him out no problem. One big disadvantage of Guilliman is that he is a monstrous creature, so no joining units to benefit from Look Out, Sir rolls (though there is a formation in the book that can fix this). So overall, Guilliman is tough, but not impossible to kill.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Rise of the Primarch Review: Part 1- Cypher and the Fallen

Welcome to the first part of my review on the Gathering Storm: Rise of the Primarch book. This part will look at the rules for Cypher and the Fallen. While that sounds like an amazing name for a prog rock band, let's see what they look like on the tabletop.

Cypher, Lord of the Fallen
Cypher can be taken in the primary detachment in any Armies of the Imperium army or Chaos Space Marine army, as long as the army does not include any Dark Angels. He does not take up any force organisation slot. 

Cypher is actually a pretty good character to add to many units in the game. He provides some nice special rules for a unit and has some decent shooting and combat abilities.

He has And They Shall Know No Fear, Fleet, Hit and Run, Infiltrate and Shrouded. These provide some nice bonuses to any unit he joins- giving them a boosted cover save, better chance of charging into combat and the ability to flee from combat. 

Sunday 19 March 2017

Blog Hiatus

As you may have guessed from the above picture, my holiday did not go exactly as planned. I managed to break my wrist while I was snowboarding in France. My saving throws continue to suck as usual! Worse, it was my dominant hand, making things more difficult. 

As a result on this, blog posts are going to be a bit sparse for the next 6 weeks. There will be no hobby posts or battle reports for a while, while I heal. Pity, as 6 weeks off would have made a huge dent in my painting pile. 

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Thursday 16 March 2017

Birthday Bash 2.0- Tournament and Venue Review

With my battle reports and army review completed for the recent Birthday Bash tournament, I thought that I would share my thoughts on how I thought the tournament went and what I thought of the venue.

Overall, the experience was great. I had a brilliant time at the tournament and the store was great too. 

Birthday Bash Tournament
The tournament format was as follows:
  • 1500 point army, single Combined Arms, no allies formations. Forgeworld allowed. 
  • Single Lord of War allowed, as per ITC restrictions.
  • Three games of 40k using Maelstrom missions.
  • Only two maelstrom cards can be scored per turn. Uses a modified maelstrom deck. 
I really liked the restrictions in place for building the army at the tournament. I am generally a big fan of the CAD and I like 1500 points games. There is enough interesting stuff on the table to make the game worthwhile, but the games do not take such a long time. It also forces you to make important choices in your army, as you cannot take all the best toys. 

The Lords of War restriction was ok too. Looking around, I didn't see too many on the tables. I think there was a Wraithknight, the Chaos Knight I played and a Tyranid Forgeworld flyer thing. 

In future years, I would like to see the format stay roughly the same (though this would depend on what happens with 8th edition). Keeping formations out of the tournament is a nice change. Do you go for the minimum "troops tax" and hope your big toys can get the job done, or do you load up on Objective Secured units to dominate the maelstrom missions? I think we can guess which I favour. 

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Birthday Bash 2.0- Deathwatch Army Review

As is customary after attending a tournament, I like to take a look over my army and see how it performed in my games- looking at what worked well and what could be improved the next time. 

In order to set this review in context, you can find the battle reports from Game 1 (Necrons), Game 2 (White Scars) and Game 3 (Khorne Daemon Kin) in their respective links. 

As a reminder, my army consisted of:
Watch Captain Artemis
5 Veterans- 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield
Drop Pod
5 Veterans- Meltagun, 2 Combi-meltas, Auspex
Drop Pod 
5 Veterans- 5 Deathwatch Shotguns, Storm Shield 
Drop Pod
5 Veterans- 5 Stalker Pattern Bolters
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs 
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs
4 Vanguard Veterans- 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers, 2 Pairs of Lightning Claws
Corvus Blackstar- Inferno Halo Launcher

Overall, the army worked very well. It was well suited for maelstrom missions, had a reasonable level of durability and could put out a lot of potent firepower, with one unit providing some combat ability.
I will now take a look at breaking down the different units in the force.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Birthday Bash 2.0- Armies on Display (Pic heavy)

Here are a selection of some of the armies on display at Birthday Bash. There were some fantastic forces on display at the tournaments, hope you enjoy the photos. 

Monday 13 March 2017

Better Know A Blogger: Part 33- Modern Synthesist

This week's Better Know A Blogger features Mr Pink (@Mod_Synth) from Modern Synthesist.

I first came across Modern Synthesist on Twitter and after checking out the blog, it has become a firm favourite on my reading list.

What attracted me to the blog was the awesome conversion work and painting skills on display on the blog. His most recent work on the blog has been towards his Genestealer Cults army. This has featured some of said awesome conversion skills and painting. One of the themes of the army is highlighting the hidden nature of the cult. Mr Pink has put this to great use with hooded Hybrids and Purestrain Genestealers covered in tarp!

Most recently, he has been taking part in the Squaduary challenge, where he pledged an insane number of models to complete.

You can also find great examples of his Dark Eldar army.

Not only a real treat for the eyes, Mr Pink helpfully provides a whole host of tutorials, helping you to improve your own hobby skills and reproduce some of his own work on the blog. In addition, you will find some great editorial pieces on the blog on a range of subjects.

Here are Mr Pink's answers to my questions:

1. What age did you get into gaming and what started it off?
It's was the 9th Grade, so I guess that makes me... 13? My younger brother wanted to get into 40k, and I was acting as middle man to buy my friend's ultramarines for my brother. He started telling me about how cool Tyranids were, introduced me to the local 'Nid player, and when that guy opened up his model case, my fate was sealed! 

Sunday 12 March 2017

Monster March- Week 2 Update

Welcome to my week 2 update on the progress of my Terrorgheist for Monster March. 

Monster March is a month-long hobby challenge being run by Swordmaster at "Path of an Outcast". You are challenged to get a monster model painted up over the course of March. You can find his first post detailing those participating using this link

Friday 10 March 2017

Ads on the Blog

As some of you may have already noticed, I have added an advert to the side bar of the blog. I have decided to trial an adsense advert on the blog to see if I can earn an extra few pennies to put towards some new models!

Hopefully, regular readers won't mind too much and it is not too intrusive.

Holiday Time!

Hello, dear Reader! Today I am embarking on holiday for a week. 

Don't fear though, the content will continue to come on St Andrews Wargaming for the following week. Please continue to read and comment as normal, but you may not get a reply to your comments as quickly as usual. Next week, you can look forward to my review of my Deathwatch army from the recent Birthday Bash tournament, as well as a review of the tournament itself, in addition to Monday's Better Know a Blogger. Also, be sure to check out the Armies on Display post, featuring some of the amazing forces that were brought to the tournament. 

This also unfortunately means that my review of the next Gathering Storm book will not be out until I return, as the book is released while I am away! I hope to write it up fairly quickly when I return though, so look out for that. 

All the best, see you in a week!

Thursday 9 March 2017

Birthday Bash Tournament Battle Report 3- Deathwatch vs Khorne Daemon Kin

My final game of Birthday Bash was to be against Liam and his phenomenal Khorne Daemon Kin army. With two wins each under our belts, this was sure to be a very tough match up for both armies. 

Liam actually has his own blog, Blue Warp Studios, which is well worth checking out and following. As you will see from the photos below, his army was absolutely stunning, featuring some amazing painting and conversions. Not only did it look great, it looked like a nasty force to fight as well. 

This mission would be Cloak and Shadows with Hammer and Anvil deployment. This is the mission where you draw three cards per turn, but keep them secret from your opponent until you score them.

My army consisted of:
Watch Captain Artemis (with VV)
5 Veterans- 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield (V1)
Drop Pod (DP1)
5 Veterans- Meltagun, 2 Combi-meltas, Auspex (V2)
Drop Pod (DP2)
5 Veterans- 5 Deathwatch Shotguns, Storm Shield (V3)
Drop Pod (DP3)
5 Veterans- 5 Stalker Pattern Bolters (V4)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B1)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B2)
4 Vanguard Veterans- 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers, 2 Pairs of Lightning Claws (VV)
Corvus Blackstar- Inferno Halo Launcher (CB)

Artemis was my warlord and his warlord trait would grant me one extra change to my Mission Tactics (so two in total). This time, I decided to put Artemis with the Vanguard Veterans in the Corvus Blackstar to keep him safe. I figured the Drop Pod units would be quickly killed upon landing, so wanted to try and save my warlord a bit longer.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Birthday Bash Tournament Battle Report 2- Deathwatch vs White Scars

The second game of Birthday Bash saw me facing off against Robert Nathan and his White Scars army. 

Robert is a regular reader and commenter on the blog, so it was great to finally meet him and play against him. This was likely to be a tough match up for me. I know from my own White Scars army how good they are in maelstrom games, and Robert's army seems to be set up for maelstrom missions very well. 

We were playing the Cloak and Shadows mission with Hammer and Anvil deployment. In this mission, you draw 3 maelstrom cards per turn, but keep them hidden from your opponent. This makes it hard predict what your opponent will do and how to best block them scoring in the game. 

My army consisted of:
Watch Captain Artemis (with V3)
5 Veterans- 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield (V1)
Drop Pod (DP1)
5 Veterans- Meltagun, 2 Combi-meltas, Auspex (V2)
Drop Pod (DP2)
5 Veterans- 5 Deathwatch Shotguns, Storm Shield (V3)
Drop Pod (DP3)
5 Veterans- 5 Stalker Pattern Bolters (V4)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B1)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B2)
4 Vanguard Veterans- 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers, 2 Pairs of Lightning Claws (VV)
Corvus Blackstar- Inferno Halo Launcher (CB)

Artemis was my warlord and his warlord trait would grant me one extra change to my Mission Tactics (so two in total). Once again, I put him with the Shotgun Veterans in the Drop Pod.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Birthday Bash Tournament Battle Report 1- Deathwatch vs Necrons

Welcome to my first battle report of the recent Birthday Bash tournament that I attended. Birthday Bash was organised by Dave over at Confessions of a 40k addict and run at Wargames over in Southport. I will do a full review of the tournament and store after my battle reports, but I'll just say that it was an awesome event held at a great store. 

I arrived with my Deathwatch at Southport on the Friday night, ready for the carnage to come the next day. I did manage to get a decent sleep at the hotel (though I was awoken during the night by the couple next door who were really enjoying their stay!). 

The tournament was a 1500 points, three game event that was going to be three maelstrom missions. All armies were using a Combined Arms Detachment, with Lords of War allowed. Armies were 'encouraged' to be a friendlier affair than a hardcore tournament list. The maelstrom missions would use a modified maelstrom deck- basically the deck cut in half and each card only worth one victory point. In addition, you could score a maximum of two cards per turn. This would prevent any player from running away with the game in most cases. Impossible cards could be discarded when drawn (impossible from that game point onwards).

My first game was against Jonathan from Dragon's Eye Miniatures, who was fielding his Necron Maynarkh Dynasty army. Jonathan has been chronicling his updates to the rules for the Imperial Armour Necrons, so has come up with a fun and thematic force for his Birthday Bash army. The first mission was Cleanse and Control, where you get up to three maelstrom cards per turn. We would also be using Vanguard deployment.

My army consisted of:
Watch Captain Artemis (with V3)
5 Veterans- 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield (V1)
Drop Pod (DP1)
5 Veterans- Meltagun, 2 Combi-meltas, Auspex (V2)
Drop Pod (DP2)
5 Veterans- 5 Deathwatch Shotguns, Storm Shield (V3)
Drop Pod (DP3)
5 Veterans- 5 Stalker Pattern Bolters (V4)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B1)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B2)
4 Vanguard Veterans- 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers, 2 Pairs of Lightning Claws (VV)
Corvus Blackstar- Inferno Halo Launcher (CB)

Artemis was my warlord and his warlord trait would grant me one extra change to my Mission Tactics (so two in total). I decided to change his unit for this game. Normally he goes with the Vanguard Veterans in the Corvus, but this time, I put him with the Shotgun Marines in the Drop Pod. I figured his poisoned combi-flamer would be of more use with their shotguns and he would add some combat punch to the unit for when they are inevitably assaulted. 

Monday 6 March 2017

Better Know a Blogger: Part 32- Sprue Grey/Golden D6

Today's Better Know a Blogger features Adam Jones (@spruegrey) from Sprue Grey and the Golden D6.

Sprue Grey is a very nice hobby blog, with some posts featuring his work in progress on the recent Squaduary challenges, as well as the older Dreadtober. He also has a number of reviews, including a more recent one of Heresy Miniatures

Adam might now be better known for the awesome Golden D6 magazine. This is an awesome regular hobby magazine, available online, that is written by gamers, for gamers. It features regular tutorials on painting and terrain, as well as battle reports and army showcases. 

One of my favourite articles was a tutorial on creating dungeon tiles from foamboard. A really simple technique, but giving amazing results. 

Here are Adam's answers to my questions:

1. What age did you get into gaming and what started it off?
In the dim, dark ages past, I started playing Dungeons and Dragons at high school. It was all badly done innuendo and naughty encounters with succubi, but what else would you expect? As a result of this, I discovered a FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store- Mike) called Mind Games (long since passed into memory) and marveled at my first exposure to miniatures. I ended up buying a four pack of adventurers: a halfling, a samurai, a thief and a barbarian. From that point my fate was sealed. My FLGS also stocked this magazine called the White Dwarf and again, my journey to the dark side was complete. It was inevitable that painting would follow and my first fumbled efforts on those four models with Humbrol enamel paints, well, we all have to start somewhere.

I wax nostalgic about those days still, and one of my favourite memories was buying White Dwarf 125 and 126. For those keeping score at home, these issues were my first introduction to the amazing Eldar of Jes Goodwin. Many years later I had the good luck to meet him at one of the Australian Games Days when I was working as a “red shirt”.

These days, family commitments, two kids, work and real life really make a dent on game time. My 12 year old son makes rumblings about playing and I kind of dread the financial cost of having two gamers in the house. Lucky for me there are a heap of options available and he keeps eyeing off my newly acquired Blood Bowl …

Sunday 5 March 2017

Hobby Sunday 05/03/17- Ghouls, Genestealers and Ruins

This week, I have been working on a number of projects. First up, I started on my work towards my Terrorgheist as part of Monster March (posted earlier today).

While I was waiting on the Terrorgheist to dry, I decided to crack on with painting my Crypt Horrors and Ghouls. I had previously started these by giving them a couple of basecoats of Screamer Pink. I had decided to paint them up in flesh-like colours, using a nice guide that I found online. 

After the basecoat, I gave them a wash of Reikland Fleshshade. 

Monster March- Week 1

Welcome to my first week update for Monster March. 

Monster March is an event being run by Swordmaster from the Path of an Outcast blog. I decided that after the success of Squaduary, I would sign up for another painting event. 

I pledged my Terrorgheist for the challenge. I bought this model around 2 years ago, but had yet to paint it. Monster March would be a great opportunity to do so. 

Week 1 was supposed to be for assembling the model. As I already had it assembled, I decided to make a start on painting it. This helps me, as I am away on holiday for a week during Monster March, so can make up for lost time. You can check out the first update post for Monster March over on Swordmaster's blog. 

Friday 3 March 2017

Old Stuff Day 2017- Post round up

Yesterday was Old Stuff Day. I posted my own link to some previous articles that I wanted to highlight once more on my blog, but there were several other bloggers who posted as well. As I did last year, I thought I might collect them all for you to go and read them yourself. 

First up, we have the organiser of Old Stuff Day; "Warhammer 39,999". He posted a great compilation post, detailing his links for Old Stuff Day from the past 6 years he has been doing it. I love a good terrain piece, so the highlights on his 40k buildings and his stained glass windows are well worth a look. 

Next up, we have Marc from "Old School Gaming", who delved into his archive to pull up a great short story, some advice for gaming fathers and some old battle reports. Not only that, but Marc decided to go a step further and give an older model some fresh love with a new coat of paint and a fresh conversion. 

Dave over at "Confessions of a 40k addict" posted one of his great older battle reports, as well as a touching tribute to his Dad. Not only that, he managed to dig around other people's blogs and post some of their old content that he still enjoys and that were an inspiration to him (a great idea that I may be stealing!). 

Steve over at "256th Imperial Battle Group" posted a great short story on a Space Marine intervention in a planetary rebellion. 

Nick at the "Burning Eye" decided to update an older article he had written on the skill and technique of dice rolling. Regular readers of my battle reports will know that my dice frequently hate me, so here are some great new ways to roll a 6 for that crucial result. 

Finally, we have Alex at "The Roost of Turkadactyl" who crept in under the wire to showcase some great photos he found of an older miniature when he was cleaning out his camera, as well as posting some great 40k hacks. 

So there we have Old Stuff Day for 2017. I hope you enjoy the various posts and look at blogging past. If you have your own Old Stuff Day post that I missed, please share the link in the comments below. 

Thursday 2 March 2017

Old Stuff Day 2017- Blog Wars and Card Terrain

March 2nd is Old Stuff Day. For those of you that don't know, Old Stuff Day is a yearly event that I first saw on Warhammer 39,999. It is a chance to raid through the archives of your blog and dust off some articles that you haven't seen in a while or didn't get enough attention first time round. 

You can find my post for last years Old Stuff Day, where I talked about White Dwarf and my very first battle report on the blog. 

This year, I wanted to delve into the distant past of 2015 and highlight my battle report for my first game at Blog Wars 9. As I am coming up on my second year of blogging, it seemed right to highlight this, as Blog Wars 9 was one of the catalysts that led me to set up my blog in the first place. This game was against NafNaf (of Objective Secured fame) and is one of my favourite tournament games I have played. NafNaf was a blast to play against and we had a fantastic time with terrible dice rolls, terrible failed charges and my White Scars Bikers doing their best to run away from his Thunderwolf Cavalry for most of the game. 

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Battle Report 97- 2000 pts Deathwatch/Assassins vs Space Wolves

This week's battle report sees my Deathwatch take on Stu's Space Wolves in the Spoils of War maelstrom mission. This battle would sees the inaugural use of my Assassins, that were recently completed for me by Rob (30Kplus40K). Lets see how they would fare against the Sons of Russ. 

My army consisted of:
Combined Arms Detachment
Watch Captain Artemis (with VV)
5 Veterans- 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield (V1)
Drop Pod (DP1)
5 Veterans- Meltagun, 2 Combi-meltas, Auspex (V2)
Drop Pod (DP2)
5 Veterans- 5 Stalker Pattern Bolters (V3)
5 Veterans- 5 Deathwatch Shotguns, Storm Shield (V4)
Drop Pod (DP3)
3 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B1)
3 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B2)
4 Vanguard Veterans- 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers, 2 Pairs of Lightning Claws (VV)
Corvus Blackstar- Inferno Halo Launcher (CB)

Assassinorum Execution Force
Callidus Assassin (Cal)
Culexus Assassin (Cul)
Eversor Assassin (EA)
Vindicare Assassin (VA)

The army was based on my force for the upcoming Birthday Bash tournament, but with a few modifications to allow me to take all four Assassins. My warlord was Watch Captain Artemis.