Monday, July 30, 2012

Daemons and You: Addendum

So, I've had some time to digest the new daemon stuff (gross!) and I'd like to give a couple new opinions on the revised lists.

I think all my opinions regarding Daemons in 40k still stand, however, I've looked over the Flamers of Tzeentch in Warhammer again and I'd like to re-iterate that I don't think they're "nerfed" (as common gaming nomenclature), nor do I think they're "broken." I had problems with them in the 7th edition book, and those problems were somewhat addressed. They're still a good choice, but they're not as unbalanced as they used to be.

Also, the Exalted Chariot of Slaanesh isn't as bad a choice as I thought. I'm ashamed to say I only got as far as the points cost in the army list, and got scared that I'd have to dig into my Rare choices to get it. Daemons don't have a ton of rare choices (especially now that Flamers are Special), anyway, and I neglected to see that it gets to bring twice the number of Steeds of Slaanesh, and Daemonettes to the party, as the other chariot. Combined with the 8 Wounds it has, and the fact that it does 2d6+1 Impact Hits for only double the points cost of the lesser chariot, makes me do a 180, opinion-wise.

Alright, now on to more pressing news: I'll be away this whole week on a mystical island somewhere in British Columbia, Canada. Therefore I won't be posting anything here. I'm not bringing my laptop, and I won't get much hobby time in anyway.

However, I hope to have read the majority of the High Adventure Role-Playing (HARP) rulebook so I'll have something to talk about when I get back.

See you (on August 6th), space cowboy!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Daemons and You!

Now I could go on, and on, ad nauseam on the changes to the Daemons of Chaos/Chaos Daemons update, and how it will change this, or tweak that, but we both have better things to do on the Internet, so I'll keep this as succinct and readable as I can.

This 16-page booklet came free in the August issue of White Dwarf. With the introduction of new plastics for old Daemon favorites, the design studio felt it appropriate to update the Chaos Daemons codex for Warhammer 40,000, and the Daemons of Chaos army book for Warhammer. This booklet does not touch on every unit in the army/armies, but it only gives us a few units that were in the direst need of change. It also introduced new Slaanesh units, much to my excitement, as that damnable prince of pleasure is my favorite of the Chaos Gods.

New plastic Plaguebearers

Let's begin with the Warhammer portion of the Daemon changes. The most noticeable change for Daemons of Chaos is the introduction of the Soul Grinder. Though many of you may scratch your heads at the idea of a mechanical construct coming down from the Realm of Chaos into the Empire, need I point out the 4th edition Warhammer Chaos Army Book with the titan in the background?

There's always been a weird mix of the technological with the Warhammer World, so let's get over it. The Soul Grinder is about the cost of a Slaaneshi Giant, but is way more reliable. Though I wonder why I would pay 55pts for a bolt thrower upgrade for the damned thing (pun intended), it does get access to a stone thrower, a fire thrower, and what amounts to a power fist (S10) that does d6 wounds. I don't know if I'd take all three upgrades, as they're ~50pts each, but I can see taking a couple just to give it some versatility. Six Wounds and a Toughness of 7 means that it's going to be around for a bit, but the WS and BS of 3 isn't anything to write home about. Overall, I like it.


Flamers and Screamers of Tzeentch got a much-needed change. Flamers went up by 5pts and no longer destroy any unit they look at. They now count as shooting with Multiple Shots, which gives them a -1 to hit penalty. Their attacks are still flaming, but now they have a Warpflame ability which pretty much means there's a chance the unit targeted will suffer additional hits for being covered with daemonic fire. Their Strength got dropped to 4 (which makes sense). I hate to toss around the phrase "broken" the way so many gamers on the Internet do, but now they're not broken.

New plastic Flamers of Tzeentch

Screamers have an additional Wound, 2 additional Attacks, and an additional Strength and Toughness all for a measly 10pt upgrade. Their slashing attacks got better, wherein they now cause d3 S4 hits on a 4+ to one unengaged unit they move over (note that I didn't mention that the unit has to be in the open like in the old entry. Not even forests can protect you from creepy daemon fish). They also have this thing called Lamprey's Bite, which means they cause Multiple Wounds (d3) to Large Targets.

New plastic Screamers of Tzeentch

Now onto the good stuff: Slaanesh. He/She/It's got some good stuff in this update in the form of chariot-thingys. One is a Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh which is a T4/W4 chariot that does Impact Hits with Armor Piercing. If you're sick of the phrase "Glass Cannon," then I'm sorry to use it again, but this is it. It's only got a 6+ save, so don't expect this thing to take a hit. But it's 20pts cheaper than a Chaos Warrior chariot so I'm alright with that. I wouldn't say it's an amazing buy, but it's nice to see Slaanesh get a heavier hitter. It also comes in Exalted form, which doubles its Attacks and Wounds, and  gives it 2d6+1 Impact Hits with Armor Piercing! But for double the points, and a Rare space. For the last two points, I'm not sure if I'm necessarily down with the Exalted version, but I'm willing to see it in play and judge for myself. I think I'd take one, just for the sake of having more Slaaneshi stuff, but I'm not making any judgement calls either way. Ooh, but 2d6+1 Armor Piercing Impact Hits is tempting... Much like the allure of Slaanesh...

Plastic Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh

Now there's this thing called the Hellflayer of Slaanesh which looks like a Chaos version of farm equipment. It seems like a version of the regular chariot but, like the Exalted chariot, has an Exalted Alluress on it. It still has only W4, but it has an ability called Soulscent which gives the Exalted Alluress extra attacks based on the number of unsaved Wounds caused by its Impact Hits. For 130pts I think this one's a good buy. It still takes up a Rare space, which you might want for a Soul Grinder, but choice is a part of army construction.

Plastic Exalted Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh
(Can be built with two Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh boxes)

Warhammer 40,000
For 40k they pretty much just updated the same units. Flamers of Tzeentch are 12pts cheaper and are now limited to 9 models per squad (Tzeentch's number). They have an extra Wound, and an extra point of Initiative. It's important to note that all the Daemons in this update don't have Save values, but instead have the Daemon special rule (which states that they cause Fear and have a 5+ Invulnerable save).

Screamers have an extra Wound, and extra point of Initiative, and two extra Attacks for 9 more points. Again, their squad size is limited to nine models, and they get Lamprey's Bite just like their Warhammer cousins. In 40k, however, this attack does a S5, AP2, Melee attack with Armorbane. They lose Warp Jaws because of this attack. Now, just like their Warhammer cousins, they get a Slashing Attack which works similarly to the Warhammer version (d3 S4, AP-, hits (no rolling to hit) to one unit you fly over), with the exception that takes advantage of 40k's new wound allocation rules: "Use the final position of the Screamers for Wound allocation..." This means that if your opponents are hiding their choice targets at the back of their units for fear of them dying to incoming (usually 12 o' clock) fire, these puppies (er - fish) can take 'em out with a back strike. 

New plastic Nurglings

So far, I think these two units are still worth it. Flamers have always been pretty nasty, but now their Save is lower. I think Flamers are now a total no-brainer (if they weren't before), but from what I understand from people who understand the "meta-game" more than I, Chaos Daemons needed a bit of a boost.

The new Slaaneshi units take advantage of the new Chariot designation in the 40k, 6th edition, rulebook. I can't remember any specific details about Chariots (and to be perfectly honest, it's 2:38 and I'm kinda tired), but they're pretty much 11/11/10 vehicles for 40pts (for a Seeker Chariot), to 60pts (for a Hellflayer), to 90pts (for an Exalted Seeker Chariot).

Plastic Hellflayer of Slaanesh

I've noticed a couple interesting typos in regards to the Slaaneshi Chariots: For one, in the army list entry for the Hellflayer, the Alluress has I5 instead of I6 like in the Bestiary, or the other Chariot entries. Also, the Hellflayer entry doesn't have Fleshshredder like it does in the Bestiary or like the other Chariots have. 

Fleshshredder gives you a Hammer of Wrath attack (pretty much Impact Hits like in Warhammer) at S4, AP-, with Rending. It also gives you d6 of these Hammer of Wrath attacks for each Hull Point it has remaining (they all start with 2 except for the Exalted Chariot which has 4!). This makes the Exalted Chariot a total no-brainer, unlike it's more ambiguous Warhammer counterpart (it's not like the Chaos Daemon codex was brimming with other Heavy Support choices, either).

The Hellflayer is a Fast Attack choice that has the exact same rule from Warhammer: Soulscent. Except replace Impact Hits with Hammer of Wrath attacks. 

I imagine Games Workshop will release this as a PDF for free (or they may charge... They do have a digital library these days) a month or so after release like they've done with many White Dwarf army lists (Blood Angels 4-5, Sisters of Battle, etc.). Overall the toning-down of the Flamers in Warhammer, and the beefing up of all the Daemons in 40k were much needed. I hated Flamers in Warhammer, and I always felt that Daemons in 40k needed more punch. I don't know if these changes will fix the balance with 40k Daemons, but I'm looking forward to find out. At the very least it can't hurt. The changes in Warhammer were less dramatic, but now I really want a Soul Grinder (they finally stuck the damn thing on a base too! I'm gonna get the big oval base for my Chaos Marine Defiler), so I can use it for Warhammer and 40k.

I hope this was readable and informative. If not, then I apologize. I've gotten progressively more and more tired as this thing went on. I have a Warhammer game scheduled for 11:00 today, so I really should be up in ~5 hours to do some errands and get ready. Any more Daemonic questions, or to berate my naïveté, just leave 'em in the comments section and I'll respond in kind. I'm pretty good about allowing even the most critical comments (as you might be able to tell if you go back and see some previous comments). I just keep the filters on to weed out spam, and racist/sexist/homophobic stuff.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Couple Things

First: Baldur's Gate.

Holy carp!

To say that I'm excited for this game, is an understatement. Baldur's Gate is my favorite video game of all time, bar none, and AD&D 2nd edition still holds some emotional allure to myself. It seems that they haven't tinkered with it too much, except to add stuff, so I look forward to re-creating Archer, the human rogue, and taking him back into the Forgotten Realms.

Second: If you want to read a WARMACHINE battle report I took part in, go here.

Third: I got my White Dwarf with the Daemons of Chaos/Chaos Daemons updates in it. I'll write-up a review tonight and have it ready for Friday's post (for once).

Fourth: I have a 2000pt game of Warhammer tomorrow, wherein my Warriors of Chaos will (hopefully) put the iron boots to an Orc & Goblin horde.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I think it's Daemons

Have y'all seen this?

I think it's Chaos Daemons/Daemons of Chaos. What do I have to back this up? August's sealed White Dwarf to my left that has a free booklet full of updates for Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 Daemons.

More on this, when I'm allowed to purchase/open my copy.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

For Chaos!

So I haven't posted in a week or so... As I stated on a previous post: I find the lack of camera disturbing. I'm considering just taking some shitty iPhone pictures just to add some content.

Fear not, however; I paint errday! I just finished a couple Chaos chariots, and two characters for my Warriors of Chaos army. I used them in a gaming event to little success (but I'm generally optimistic for their futures). Right now I'm working on some Chaos Space Marines for Warhammer 40,000 'cause I'm stoked on that.

I've written a lot on 40k lo this last month, but today I realized that the excitement I feel for this game is akin to "coming home" again. It's been four, 40kless, years and I'm excited to be excited for it again.

On the 15th I went to a monthly game day held by a local gaming club ("CHOP!" is their name), and had a blast with my Warriors of Chaos. I'm hoping to have my Chaos Space Marines ready for August 12th, which is their next games day. They're running a Warhammer tournament in a couple months too, that I'm planning on taking time off for. Once the date is secured, and my time off is guaranteed, I'll do a tournament journal like I've always wanted to. I'll most-likely use my Warriors of Chaos.

Whelp! That's it for now. I'll hopefully have something for you on Friday. I'll try and score some photos somehow, and the Internet can see what I've been working on.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy 4th - er, 6th of July!

Nothing much to report. Man, it really sucks not having a camera. At least when I had a camera and there was nothing going on, I could snap some pics of what's going on on my paint table. Trust me; I'm painting a lot.

I took a break from my current paint schedule to celebrate the 4th of July, nerd-style. Now you may be asking why a Canadian is celebrating Independence Day. Well, what if this Canadian is also an American? Don't that just blow yer mind?

I celebrated by sticking a tiny American flag on my paint desk, got all my unpainted Flames of War Americans and went to town. I pretty much just finished a platoon and a half, but that's better than a pointed stick in the eye (or living a day longer under the rule of the tyrant King George III). Oh, I also drank about 130cl of beer from Pike Brewing, and Rogue Ales.

All-in-all a good Independence Day. Now I go back to the hum-drum painting of Warriors of Chaos in preparation for a gaming day on the 15th. After that it's back to the Eldar grind and then hopefully some Saga, and more FoW before the next Independence Day. I've been working on that army since America was 230, and I'd like to get it done before America turns 237...


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

40k 6th Edition's Wall of Text (Oh, and a Review)

Finally, the long-awaited opinion piece on Warhammer 40,000. I know you all sit with baited breath, hoping that the critiques I sling like shuriken out of a catapult match yours if only because the enjoyment of our glorious pastime is made all the sweeter knowing that a rad dude such as myself can finally put word to that which you've known all along.

However, I realize that not everyone has the luxury of time that I have, so to keep it short and concise, I'm going to tell you (once again, I believe) that I enjoyed the game I played of 6th edition, and from reading the rulebook, it looks like it's going to be a good edition to play games in. This is coming from a gamer, whose last favorite edition was 2nd, and has played the other editions of 40k simply to stay in vogue.* To keep this article organized, I'm going to tell you what I liked, and what I didn't, then I'll go into some detail about the changes, and the book, itself, so that if you're on the fence you can at least begin to judge for yourself whether this edition is for you, or you're going to pass.

What Carmin Liked:
As I said in a previous post, I miss the theme and character that once seeped out of the walls of this game. 3rd edition did a lot to clean up the game and make larger games run smoother, but what it lacked was the character that made 40k so enviable. Granted, the success of 40k means that it'll always be somewhat enviable. 2nd edition 40k had its copycats, and so did 3rd edition. This edition has tried to keep the flow of the post-2nd edition ruleset, while injecting some of the character from previous editions. This seems to be the track on which Games Workshop is running their train. While Warhammer has never really had as big a jump from one ruleset to another the way 40k has, 8th edition still is a newer ruleset with older bits tossed in. This placates me.

So what is this character I talk about? Let's start with characters: Characters are defined as anything from a sergeant or exarch all the way up to Mephiston. They have a few special rules which make them more than just dudes with higher numbers on their profile. Now they can declare challenges against one another (and intercept challenges from enemies), they can target specific models out of an enemy unit in the shooting phase or during an assault if they're particularly skilled, and they can cast psychic powers if they're so gifted.

Ah, psychic powers, how I've missed you. I loved the psychic phase from 2nd edition, and while it's not back in 6th, psychic powers have been designed to fit into the ruleset as is, rather than jammed in there awkwardly. I have to hand it to the GW design team on this one. When I first heard that there wasn't to be a psychic phase in the game, I was a little disappointed, but after having read the rules for psychic powers, I'm more appreciative of the person or people responsible for this iteration. Your psykers can cast powers just like they have since 3rd edition, which is during their normal activation, except that now certain powers can only be cast during specific phases during the model's activation. Blessings and Maledictions can only be cast at the beginning of the Movement Phase while Witchfire spells can only be cast during the shooting phase, etc.

The coolest part of this change is the way psychic powers are chosen and cast. You choose them the same way one would choose magic spells in Warhammer: roll on a chart, or draw a card (if you have the cards). You can substitute one power for the signature power (I forget if that's the name for the type of power, or if I'm just stealing that from Warhammer's spell lists. I don't have an open rulebook in front of me) which is separate from the other 6 powers of that discipline. You get one power for each Mastery Level you possess. Most psykers only have Mastery 1, but certain other ones have higher Masteries. These Mastery Levels also dictate how many "psychic points" (again, unsure if this is the terminology) you get per turn which can be used to cast powers. Most powers have a Mastery of 1, while others have 2. I don't think any have 3 or higher, but I wouldn't rule these out for future supplements (Ooo! Can you imagine how cool a Storm of Magic-type supplement for 40k would be?). After you've spent the points to cast a power, you make a psychic test based on your Leadership. On a double 1, or a double 6 you attract the ire of warp daemons and you lose a wound instantly with no saves of any kind. If you rolled a double 1, though, it still goes off. The only thing your opponent can do is to "deny the witch" with a single d6 in order to nullify any power directed at her troops. If the targeted player rolls a 6, then the power is nullified.

Characters also get rolls on what's called Warlord Charts. There are three: Strategic, Personal, and Command. You roll on these charts and they give your general a little something extra to use in the game, and can be a great way to lend a narrative to your games. 

Adding to the character of the game are a few little things such as removing models from the front of a unit/squad, making it so that if one model in a unit moves, the other models don't necessarily count as moving like in previous editions (now a model doesn't count as moving unless it actually moves, regardless what its buddies do), and adding the Overwatch and Snap Fire rules.

Now the "Overwatch" rule is a bit of a misnomer. Unlike 2nd edition, you're not really waiting for an enemy to do something, necessarily, it's more of a reaction to take down a charging enemy. If an enemy moves into assault with you, each member of a squad that doesn't use a blast or template (flamers still can overwatch, though) can make a roll to hit on a 6, regardless of the firer's Ballistic Skill (BS). They then roll to wound and save as normal. These shots don't cause panic or morale, or count towards the combat results, but they do even the playing field somewhat. Snap Fire doesn't necessarily make the game more characterful, so I'll talk about it in a different section.

Image courtesy of the Total Wargamer Blog

The change to vehicles is a much-welcome one in my games. Now vehicles are easier to take out because they effectively have wounds just like in the pre-Vehicle Manual Rogue Trader game. Glancing Hits just take off a hull point, while Penetrating Hits take off a hull point and give you a roll on the vehicle damage chart (which is more like the 3rd edition vehicle damage chart). Most vehicles have 3 hull points, but smaller ones like Land Speeders have 2, while larger ones like Monoliths have 4. This makes vehicles less hard to kill, which was well-demonstrated in my game where I took out a Rhino on turn 1 with my Wave Serpent (something I couldn't have done with any ease in 5th edition).

Finally, the terrain rules are very similar to Warhammer's wacky terrain rules, which I can't get enough of. A lot of gamers have expressed a dislike to these rules, and, though it may be cruel of me to say, that makes me like them even more. They just go to enforce that miniatures gaming isn't chess, and (in my opinion) shouldn't be. Even the best-laid plans can fall victim to the alien worlds we fight on. In my game there were a bunch of forests on the table, each one did something different, such as provide +1 to the cover save, or try and suck out the brain of my Striking Scorpion with the hopes of him killing off the other members of the squad in his brainwashed death throes. Even the objectives you need to capture aren't a sure bet. They can do anything from provide you with a shield generator, to explode on you!

Overall, the game is more thematic. There are even text boxes on certain pages labelled: "Forging a Narrative," which give you meta-gaming ways to add back story to your games.

What Carmin Didn't Like:
I think everything I wanted to change but didn't was expressed in a previous post, so I'll try and be succinct here. I would've liked the army composition chart gone. If you want to hear why, you can read this post. However, a friend told me his opinion, which is that the Force Organization chart actually keeps some armies in check, such as Orks, and Imperial Guard who can buy Fast Attack and Heavy Support choices inexpensively (relatively). Allowing the Orks only three choices for Fast Attack, for instance, forces them to choose what to bring, rather than just being somewhat of a smorgasbord.

I would also have liked to see movement rates brought back. I don't think it's so hard to have Eldar move 5 and Space Marines move 4 again. I don't necessarily think the current system is stupid, it's just that I like movement values better.

Rules Changes:
I've already gone over some of the rules changes in the preceding novel-sized write-up, but I'll summarize some other rules that are new.

Snap Fire is a catch-all word for situations where you can't fire with any great accuracy, and thus are relegated to hitting on a 6 (regardless of the firer's BS). Situations where this could arise, would be firing on Overwatch (as I described earlier), and if you have a heavy weapon that moved. That's right, heavy weapons can move and fire, provided it doesn't use a blast or flame template.

Wound allocation is also a big change, and one that was confusing to read. It's definitely something that you need to try out on the battlefield in the heat of the moment. Reading them, I was simultaneously confused, and skeptical about them. Yet they work. Give 'em a try.

Allies are back! There are three stages of ally: Battle Brother (where they're as good as your main army's units except they can't enter each others transports); Allies of Convenience (they act as separate armies fighting the same enemy); and Desperate Allies (they get no benefit from each other and need to roll animosity if they're within 6" of each other). Allies also have their own force organization chart that's separate from the main army's one. The ally's chart makes an HQ and a Troop squad compulsory, but beyond that will let you take 1 Elite, 1 Fast Attack, 1 Heavy Support, and 1 additional Troop.

There are also a myriad of other rules changes that are smaller than the ones I've mentioned (and thus I can't recall them right now). They are also legion! More rules have changed in this edition than since the 2nd/3rd switch. Some of note: Vehicles ramming, Tank Shock's less powerful, Jump Pack units get impact hits, no more kill points in missions (thank the Emperor!), more missions (thank the Emperor!), and flyer rules (that I have not read yet, but the general consensus is that they're good).

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the following have returned to the 41st Millennium:
Zoats, Slann, Imperial Beastmen, and Squats.

That's right... Squats... And they're not called Demiurg, they're called Squats.

You won't see any pictures of them, but they're there in the Appendix under Abhumans. YES!

What Else is in the Book?
If you're wondering if $90CDN is worth it for the book, I can only say that it's really up to you. Like a lot of Games Workshop's stuff the value has to be discerned by the hobbyist. I found it worth it to get the rules now and play now, but it could easily have been not worth it. It's full-color, and hard-backed with a bookmark ribbon. Like GW's other products it is high-quality, but when compared to a book like Paizo's Pathfinder Core Rules ($54.99CDN) or Fantasy Flight Games' Black Crusade RPG Rulebook ($64.99CDN), or even Flames of War's Rulebook ($62.99CDN) it's expensive. It's got itself ~440 pages, but so do these other books.

You won't see me join the "GW is a rip-off" bandwagon, because I'm an adult, and can learn to manage my hobbies like a responsible grown up, but be prepared to hear a lot of that, because many gamers aren't as mature as I am.

After the rules, you are given a very comprehensive background section (which I've yet to read, but it looks like it goes into some great detail), complete with pull out panorama paintings. There's a miniatures gallery, and a hobby section that's very basic (but remember, this is a rulebook). There's a "Gaming" section that gives you some alternate, narrative, missions to play (think historical re-fights), as well as advice on campaign and tournament gaming. Finally there's an appendix which goes into some esoteric knowledge of the 41st Millennium such as how to field dress a lasgun wound, and the aforementioned info on abhumans.

Anyway, I hope this was of some help. If you've still got some questions but don't have the book, or anywhere to ask them without flame wars, please post in the comments below, and I'll try and answer them. I'm one chapter away from finishing the rules, and then I'm going to tackle the other sections of the book (even though I've read the background to the universe more than one should over the course of 16 years).


*I'm being somewhat glib. I don't want it to seem like I didn't enjoy my sojourns into this universe. I've had some immensely good times with 40k from 3rd edition to 4th edition, and bonded with many a friend over 25mm round bases during that time. But all along my heart did belong to 2nd edition despite it's crummy close combat rules and skewed method of choosing wargear. I definitely need to play more than just one game of 6th edition, but already it looks like I might finally be able to make peace with the way 40k is and is going to be (only 14 years later, huh?).