Monday, January 24, 2011

Storm Guardians vs Fire Dragons in Small Games

I'm toying around with list ideas for the coming tournament at Hobbytown of Hickory, and I always have a hard time deciding how to cut my 1500 lists down for these small point games. One thing I'm considering that I never thought I would is dropping my trusty Fire Dragons. I'm hedging my bets on my storm guardians being good enough to fill the tank busting gap.

On one hand, Fire Dragons are very good at what they do. When I drop off a unit of Fire Dragons within six inches of a vehicle, I expect it to die, and the worst thing that ever happens is losing a few of my squad to the resulting explosion... at least, that's the worst thing that happens until my opponent gets to retaliate. They almost never see a second shooting phase. My normal setup for Fire Dragons is:
Elite: Fire Dragons (6#, 180 pts)
   5 Fire Dragons, 180 pts ((pp.32 & 62 Eldar); Fleet; Fusion Gun; Melta Bombs)
      1 Wave Serpent ((pp.45 & 63 Eldar); Unit Type: Vehicle (Skimmer, Tank, Fast); Energy Field; TL Shuriken Catapults; TL Shuriken Cannons)
Storm Guardians, on the other hand, are less likely to blow up whatever they're shooting (two BS3 Str8 melta shots and a BS4 S9 shot)... but they have all the benefits that come along with being troops, they're more versatile, and people tend to see guardians as much less of a threat so they're more likely to survive more than one round. I normally run my storm guardians as follows:

Troops: Storm Guardians (12#, 225 pts)
   10 Storm Guardians, 225 pts ((p.39 & p.64 Eldar); Fleet; Close Combat Weapon; Shuriken Pistol; Fusion Gun x2)
      1 Warlock ((p.27-28 & p.60 Eldar); Psyker;  Embolden; Fleet; Rune Armour; Shuriken Pistol; Singing Spear)
      1 Wave Serpent ((pp.45 & 63 Eldar); Unit Type: Vehicle (Skimmer, Tank, Fast); Energy Field; TL Shuriken Catapults; TL Shuriken Cannons)
I guess the big question is: Will two fusion guns and singing spear be enough for the tank busting needed in a small game, or do I really need the Fire Dragons? My gut tells me that the dragons are overkill, and that with so few units, I'll need the ones I have to be as versatile as possible. I did face AV14 at the last tournament, though, and that was the game in which I got my tail handed to me.

Advice and suggestions are, as always, much appreciated...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Warhammer 40K Tournament at Hobbytown of Hickory

Just as I hoped, Hobbytown of Hickory is hosting another Warhammer 40K tournament! I'm not 100% sure I'm going, but I have every intention of playing again. I had a blast at the tournament they ran last September. For anyone living close enough to Hickory to make it, the tournament is on February 5th. It's 750 points, and as far as I know, they're following the same format and rules as last time. If anything did change (and I emailed last night to find out), I'll update this page with the latest info.

Now I just have to decide whether I'll be running Eldar or Blood Angels... hmmmmmm...

More Details:

  • No unusual list restrictions
  • 4x4 tables
  • Start time is around 11:00
  • Double elimination



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warp Hunter and Shadow Spectres

Despite every ounce of finance-related common sense screaming at me to ignore this new, I can't help but admit that I'm really excited about Forgeworld's new Eldar releases. Back when the new Eldar Hornet was released, I said my piece on why I'll probably never buy models from Forgeworld. However, these two new releases might push me to make a purchase whenever my finances get a little more stable.

Warp Hunter Grav Tank
I'm loving this new model, but what really attracts me to this particular tank is the rules for the D-Cannon. I love template weapons, and a long range cannon that can fire as a template is simply amazing in my book. You can see the rules for yourself here, but in short, the main weapon can tank hunt with a 36" gun that always penetrates on a 5+ and glances on a 3+, PLUS it can do funky stuff with the template at short range. This might be the Forgeworld item that makes me break from my old habit of avoiding their products.

Shadow Spectres
As I read through the rules, I find myself wondering if they are more complicated than they're worth. I also wonder if the 35 point price tag on each of these guys will be worth it. However, regardless of how effective these guys will be on the tabletop, the models look amazing. I want to say the same exact thing about these guys that I said about the Dark Eldar warriors: I might never play them... but I really want to paint one. The only thing I really don't like is that you don't get the models exactly the way you see them in the picture. Apparently, you have to do the work on the stands yourself. While this gives a skilled converter plenty of design options, it kind of leaves a reluctant amateur like me out in the cold.

Regardless of whether or not I ever purchase one of these, I love where Forgeworld is going with the Eldar line. Here's hoping that the next official codex includes a few of these new options.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One-Shot on Hold, Game Night Resurgent

I'm determined to make game night a priority this year. I feel disappointed at the end of the week if I didn't get to play anything, and that led to a lot of disappointment in 2010. I've already made all of this clear in my New Years resolutions, though. So far, we've had game night every week in 2011. That's right. We're one for one. I consider it a winning streak. And the first week of 2011 was actually the second game night in a row, a first since September if I remember correctly. I feel like celebrating... and I think I'll do so by posting a few pics of our last session.

In the last session, we ended with a near-TPK. This session, those characters that died were replaced by more efficient ones. Chalk it up to getting better acquainted with the system. They were:


With less time to play due to work responsibilities, we only got in three encounters this session. The first was a rather long fight with a deep dragon, which I didn't capture with a pic. It kept the players on their toes, but to be honest, I got a little bored during this fight. This thing had too many hit points as a solo monster, and not enough variety in its attacks to make it stay interesting for me. It made me wish that dragons were still spellcasters the same way they used to be: big scary beasts with a plethora of spells they can pull on you to make things interesting. [Begin Mini-Rant] Excluding its basic attacks, the deep dragon had seven different attacks... two of those were encounter powers, two were recharge powers, one was a reaction that the players quickly figured out how to avoid, and one didn't do any damage. If the dice didn't favor me on the recharge powers, I was rolling for the exact same attack every single time after round four or five. Maybe the party's damage output wasn't high enough to put the dragon away quickly enough, but I was tempted to end the fight prematurely just so I could stop rolling claw attacks. 3E era dragons with spellcasting abilities didn't suffer from this, at least not in my experience. I actually wish there were more elite dragons so that I wouldn't get bored during these encounters... there are 82 in the Compendium right now, but a sizable percentage are actually dragonborn or things like dragonbone golems. [End Rant]


The second fight took just as long, but was much more interesting because of the tactics the party used to win. They stumbled into a prison, with duergar holding a pair of svirfneblin captive. Sithis, the duergar avenger/invoker, conjured a wall of blades in the middle of the room that cut the enemy forces in half. The party destroyed the duergar without sustaining many injuries at all, as they used a combination of pushing and sliding powers to make sure their opponents "encountered" the wall of blades as often as possible.
That wall of dice is actually a wall of blades...

When only one duergar remained, he fled back into the sewers, and as the party pursued, they realized why the outmatched duergar hadn't fled sooner. The fleeing duergar, though he died in the process, led the party into a nest of giant spiders and chitine!
Careful observation might reveal the Blood Angel in this picture... he's a placeholder for my brother's Blade Angel power.

As the spider encounter ended and the night came to a close, I realized something. I really miss playing D&D. As I put more emphasis on game night this year, I think D&D needs to make a triumphant return after its two year absence. I'll be working on that... except next time, I'd really like more of a story. No more one-shots for me, at least not in the near future. This one will have to be put on hold because Will is overseas again, but game night? Game night is back. And the campaign ideas are brewing...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unassembled Blood Angels Issue

I have six unassembled Blood Angels, and I can't quite decide what to do with them. Because I'm using Dark Angels veteran squads for all of my Blood Angels, I have plenty of bits to work with, so I'm not too limited as far as what unit they represent.


Of these six armless marines, one will get a meltagun and be set aside just in case I want my two squads of seven assault marines to be three squads of five. However, the other five I have no idea what to do with. Originally, they were supposed to be the second half of a tactical squad, but the more I play my Blood Angels, the less I like tactical marines. They just don't fit my style, and they feel like a waste of points because I'm probably not using them efficiently enough. I'll explain a few of the options I've considered, and then I'd love for my readers to give me some feedback on what might be my best choice.

Devastator Marines
I already have a squad of tactical marines that I don't want to use anymore. Making a 10 man devastator squad would allow me to keep using the models I already have, plus add some heavy weapons to my army. These would be missile launcher devastators for two reasons: I like the versatility, and I already have the bits.

Honour Guard
I love my honour guard. Getting the discount sanguinary priest and all of the wargear options is a steal as far as I'm concerned. However, I'm currently only running one HQ, so if I add more honour guard, I'll have to buy another HQ. Still, another librarian would be fun. The biggest drawback here is that this option doesn't allow me to incorporate the five tactical marines that I already own... I'll still be stuck with them as tactical marines.

Sternguard Veteran Squad
I've never used these guys before, but I like the flexibility they offer with their special ammunition and the ability to take combi-meltas and combi-flamers. My fear with these guys is that I'll wind up feeling the same way about them that I do with my tactical marines... they just don't suit my play style. I really like the assault.

Why Not an Assault Squad/Vanguard Veteran Squad?
I'm just not going to use these guys. I know what you're thinking: You just said that you really like the assault, yet you're ruling out your assault options?! My response probably isn't satisfactory, but it's my way of thinking so I'm running with it. All of my assault marines (except the ones with meltaguns) use models with the "running" pose. I don't want to break that trend, so I don't want these five marines to be an assault-based squad.

So with that said... how about a nudge in the right direction? And please feel free to elaborate on your vote in the comments below. Thanks ahead of time!








Monday, January 10, 2011

Less Than Heroic: A Comedic Web Series

Just a short post today. If you're into the whole comedy RPG web series thing, you should check out the Less Than Heroic site and donate if you have the spare funds. They're still in production at this point, I believe, but I've got a gut feeling that this group will produce some great stuff.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our Casual One-Shot D&D Game

It sure feels better to have my computer back! I can do the blogging thing on the Android phone, but it's a lot easier with a real keyboard. So I wanted to post some pics and commentary on the short D&D session that I ran the other day. Will is on leave from the army for a few weeks, so we wanted to have a reunion of sorts (especially since the last time we played 4th Edition was right before he entered basic training two years ago. The point of this adventure was to find a way to (at least somewhat) logically use a bunch of my favorite D&D Miniatures, and basically just run a little hack-n-slash dungeon crawl before Will gets shipped back overseas.

In any case, I blogged a bit a few weeks ago about feeling a little overwhelmed by the options available in Character Builder now, but the more I thought about it, the less it worried me. The only real issues we had were having to check the Compendium for rules on power points. Leave it to Eric to play something with rules we've never used before!

It was a great evening. I completely disassembled my Realm of Battle gaming board and crafted an entire dungeon from Dungeon Tiles that haven't seen the light of day since the Spectrum Shock campaign. To help keep some of the mystery intact, I flipped over a bunch of the room tiles so that the players would know where rooms were, but wouldn't get hints about what was inside. This was the whole map:


The party consisted of three 15th level characters: a human assassin, a shardmind battlemind, and a half-elf bard. Over the course of the evening, the party befriended a group of svirfneblin cut off from their deep gnome brethren, slaughtered a band of kuo-toa, were nearly overrun by a naga and his xorn allies, easily defeated a draegloth and his minions, and were almost overcome by a pair of elite drow warriors.




Even though we had planning on pulling an all-nighter, those drow warriors managed to kill two of the three party members, and only the human assassin remained to tell the tale. With the near-TPK, we decided to postpone the rest of the adventure, roll up new characters, and finish later... which will actually be tonight! This will be the first game night of 2011, and considering the fact that the restarting of game night was one of my New Years resolutions, I don't think I'm doing half bad!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stormraven Gunship Leak (Update)

I blogged about the Stormraven Gunship a while back and mentioned that I wasn't at all impressed with the new model. I was really excited to see this new angle... which casts the new model in a much better light. I'm still not super excited about the look, but it isn't quite as terrible as my initial reaction would suggest. I might end up purchasing one of these after all...

I might even go back to this list instead of trying to figure out what I'll do with the last six marines that are sitting on my gaming table unassembled. I think I'll go into more detail later and maybe survey my readers on the subject... but for now, I'm going to wait... I still have about 500 points of unpainted Blood Angels that I need to catch up on before I purchase anything else.

2011 Gaming Resolutions

Last year, I made three New Years Resolutions related to gaming. This year, I'm going to try to be a little more realistic... but first let's look at how well I did in 2010.
  • Start playing RPGs again. Mostly, I failed. I did get the Rifts Wave Campaign running for short spurts, but it was never consistent. Other than that, I didn't mess with RPGs much at all this year.
  • Play outside the man cave more often. Technically, I succeeded. I played three games of Warhammer 40K at Hobbytown in 2010. Compared to the one game I played in 2009, three doesn't seem to bad. Still, all three games were played in a single day, so I still feel like there is a ton of room for improvement here.
  • Play something competitively. I did, but only once. I really wish there were Warhammer 40K tournaments around here, but I haven't had much luck finding any. I did play in one local tournament, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of anyone running another one soon, and I don't know where else to look.
Overall, I didn't do too hot. This time next year, I'd like to be able to claim that I did a lot better. So this year, I'm doing a combination of two approaches:

  1. Trying harder
  2. Lowering the bar
As you can see, I'm attacking this problem from both angles! Between the two, I should achieve success! Thus, I present to you my two 2011 New Years gaming resolutions:
  • Start game night again. I used to have game night once a week, and the guys would come over to play D&D, Rifts, 40K, or whatever we felt like playing. When I started graduate school, game night was one thing that fell by the wayside. I intend to get it back on track ASAP.
  • Play outside the man cave more often. In 2009, I played one game outside of the man cave. In 2010, I played three. If I can hit four in 2011, I'll at least continue the trend of "more each year." I doubt I'll ever get back to the gaming schedule I kept in college (every Friday evening and/or Saturday morning at the FLGS), but I don't want to get stuck in the "I never get to play anything anymore" rut.
We'll see how all of this shapes up over the coming year... hopefully I'll feel better about these in 365 days.

Happy New Years, everyone!
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