Even a Loser Can Win Sometimes

So I guess I won the most recent Bell of Lost Souls giveaway.

I don't win many things, but when I do it seems to be wargaming related. Back in 2007 I won this battleforce from Patrick Weaver, former trade sales manager at Games Workshop.

This thing is massive looking. I'm normally a case kind of guy, so I'm not sure how much traveling use it'll actually get out of me, but it'll be good for storage at least.


Toy Soldiers

So the current business tactic of Games Workshop is baffling me. That's not to be interpreted as I dislike it, but as it doesn't seem to make much sense in the long-run.

For years now, gamers have pleaded to GW for them to release every factions' codex simultaneously alongside a core rule book. While that hasn't happened, they have boosted their releases at least tenfold.

Since sixth edition launched last year, they've updated seven books: Space Marines (with Black Templars), Dark Angels, Eldar, Tau, Chaos Marines, Daemons, Sisters of Battle, and even reinvented the Apocalypse expansion. That leaves eight codexes to update - and Tyranids, Orks, and Imperial Guard are already rumored to be coming soon.
The game designers recently revealed that the average lifespan of a rulebook/codex is only five years. And, according to an interview with Jervis Johnson from a few years ago, the plan was to update all armies before moving on to a sixth edition. Obviously this plan was put on hold, because fifth edition wasn't very good and they barely released any updates/content for it.

But now, at the current release rate, we'll have all books updated by halfway through the core rulebook's lifespan. Like I stated before, I'm not complaining, I just don't understand what their plan is. As far as I'm aware, never before have they released every factions' rules during a single edition.

Not only that, but the level of production they've been pumping out is quite extreme: Tons of new models, new terrain pieces with rules included, hardcover books with full-color illustrations, flying models, etc.

It's like they realized how stagnant the hobby was becoming because of their laziness. And their laziness was caused by arrogance. For 20 years they were the top company in the industry, but mostly because other companies didn't have the funding or artists to compete.

Now Warmachine, Hordes, Flames of War, Malifaux, Infinity, Mercs, etc., have caught up to GW's standards and in some ways exceeded them. Their models may not be quite as aesthetically pleasing, but their rules, quality of production, and fanbase interaction have definitely surpassed GW in comparison to fifth edition.

And that's why I suspect GW cancelled their plan to make fifth their "catch up" edition. By that point, they were in danger of becoming second to Privateer Press. So they cranked out sixth edition and packed it with as much as possible. Their laziness has finally ended.

Unfortunately, they keep foolishly raising their prices which will eventually be their undoing. But that's a rant for another time.

My worry is what their new goal is. Do they update everything for this edition, making it their final, and just continue to produce terrain and expansions for it? Or will they end this edition's life early and render all updated books obsolete with it, thus making the next rulebook a ridiculous cash cow if everyone has to buy everything all over again at once?

Only time will tell...


Typhus Strikes Back

This week I played against Chaos Marines lead by Typhus, again. A different player than before but a similar army. I have a feeling that Typhus is a must-have with their latest codex. In battle he definitely seems durable and lethal.

Back with a vengeance.

This time around, the player (Brandon) attached Typhus to a squad of Plague Zombies. Oddly enough they seemed much more difficult to whittle down than last game's squad of Plague Marines. Possibly due to numbers? My initial reaction was appropriate: Drop an Orbital Bombardment down into the middle of them. Unfortunately it scattered way off course... and landed on my own Drop Pod and Dreadnought, destroying the Drop Pod and awarding my opponent First Blood.

Like a hawk spotting prey.

And monstrous creatures... oh, how I despise monstrous creatures! Brandon fielded a Daemon Prince of Nurgle, and kept a Great Unclean One in reserves but thankfully it never really got into the game. It came in on turn four after failing all prior reserve rolls but then mishapped on its deep strike and I placed it practically off the board.

Amazing deep strike to the quad-gun.

Despite my Dreadnought rusting into a scrapheap, it wasn't entirely in vain. I had decided early on to sacrifice him by having my Drop Pod come in right in front of the Aegis Defense Line. Knowing my heavy flamer would ignore any cover saves and the Plaguebearers would counterattack with a following assault, I used him to kill off as many of the Lesser Daemons as possible until my Assault Squad could deep strike in and take control of the quad-gun. Incredibly, they landed on-target and began using it to wreck Brandon's Rhinos.

Typhus has a posse.

On turn three Typhus and his Plague Zombies charged into melee, killing an Honour Guard and a Chapter Champion in the first assault phase. My Chapter Master and his one remaining Honour Guard held their own for a turn but were eventually slain.

I should've rushed it sooner.

And the Relic that was vied for in the middle of the table went to Brandon. My Terminators disembarked from their Land Raider Crusader in the hopes of assaulting the Chaos Marines but failed their charge distance by a couple of inches, and so in the following turn Brandon's Daemon Prince - having just killed a five-man tactical squad - intercepted and slaughtered the Terminator squad.

It was a good game, and although he won First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and holding the Relic, we both agreed it was probably due to my horrible rolling. I think he still would've won even if my rolling had been better but at least the gap in Victory Points wouldn't have been so big.


Chaos Crushed

I had my first game tonight with the new Space Marines codex against Chaos Marines and absolutely steamrolled them. In a 1,000-point Emperor's Will match, we went 9-2.

The Chaos Marines were lead by Typhus and composed of two squads of Plague Zombies, a squad of Plague Marines, a squad of Chosen, and two Helbrutes.

Typhus vs. Shinra

My opponent conceded in turn five, but I insisted we kept going for fun just to have our commanders face off. After five additional turns, Shinra was cut down by a bloodied Typhus.

The main reason I won was because of how weak the Zombies were. On the first turn, I called down an orbital bombardment on one squad followed by a Dreadnought in a Drop Pod to slaughter the other. The Chosen, Plague Marines, and Helbrutes were picked off quick enough with krak missiles and lascannons.

But in the name of fairness, I will note that my opponent had never played 6th edition before and was unaware of the points reduction Helbrutes received via errata. Thus his list was only 990 points.

Overall it was fun, though an extremely one-sided battle. I'm a bit bummed that I didn't get to unleash the full potential of my Chapter Master in melee combat, but hopefully next game.


Doing the Math

Chapter Master (183)
Captain (170)
Librarian (150)
Chaplain (125)
Terminator Librarian (175)
Troops x10♠ (170)
Troops x10♣ (175)
Troops x10♦ (185)
Scouts x5 (90)
Rhino (60)
Drop Pod x2 (70)
Dreadnought† (140)
Dreadnought‡ (160)
Terminators (230)
Assault (207)
Devastators (150)
Predator (190)
Land Raider (275)
Whirlwind (85)
Land Speeders (270)
Chapter Master (205)
Captain (170)
Librarian (100)
Chaplain (115)
Terminator Librarian (125)
2x Troops x5♠ (175)
2x Troops x5♣ (180)
2x Troops x5♦ (190)
Scouts x5 (80)
Rhino (50)
Drop Pod x2 (70)
Dreadnought† (140)
Dreadnought‡ (145)
Terminators (220)
Assault (230)
Devastators (150)
Predator (155)
Land Raider (270)
Whirlwind (65)
Land Speeders (235)

♠ denotes one multi-melta and one flamer were taken.
♣ denotes one heavy bolter and one meltagun were taken.
♦ denotes one plasma cannon and one plasma gun were taken.
† denotes one assault cannon and one heavy flamer were taken.
‡ denotes one twin-linked lascannon and one missile launcher were taken.


Salvation is at Hand

With all the rumors narrowing down, it looks like the upcoming Codex: Space Marines will be a dream come true. About half the changes in it won't affect my army, but the other half that does is all positive. The only exception is Drop Pod transport capacity decreasing from 12 to 10 - which I saw coming anyway, since all variant chapters have been at 10 for a while now.

My favorite rumors so far:
  • All Marines reduced in cost by 2 points.
  • Scout squads are 10 points cheaper.
  • Cost of relic blades dropped by 5 points.
  • Cheaper Predator tanks.
  • The return of the mastercrafted weapons upgrade!
  • Camo cloaks grant a 6+ cover save in the open.
  • The insanely good army-wide special rules.
  • Five-man squads may have a special or a heavy weapon.
  • Eternal Warrior is an upgrade option?!
  • Power weapons stayed the same cost.

With such great new features, I'll be able to stand my ground better and be able to put more into my army. I'm very, very excited for its release in a week or two!


Emperor's Light vs Shadow in the Warp

Finally got a game in last night. It was against Blake's Tyranids. I hadn't faced them in years, so I made an all-new list to combat them. It could've used a little more tweaking, but it served its purpose and I won with it. Although I've faced Tyranids before, I'd never encountered such a psyker-heavy force. I didn't even know Tyranids had psykers aside from Zoanthropes.

I will say, though, that my Land Speeders came in via deep strike and mostly landed on-target, inflicting vital wounds on enemy creatures. My Predator and Whirlwind only got one round of firing before being blown up by a flying Hive Tyrant. It was ugly. Very ugly.

Raveners attacking my Land Raider. Good luck rolling 7s.
Around turn three, Blake forgot that Raveners couldn't even glance AV14 on a rending hit and had his unit assault my Land Raider Crusader instead of my Rhino. Next turn, the Land Raider reversed, opened fire, and pretty much annihilated the entire unit. It was pretty awesome.

"Reverse! Open fire!"

My squad of Terminators also disembarked that turn and assaulted a Tervigon, punching the monstrous creature into mush.

This is going to hurt.

Alas, a Swarmlord slaughtered the squad holding my deployment's objective. It took two lucky turns worth of movement and running for a second squad to reach and retake it, just as the game ended.

It was a good game that I just barely won by a single victory point. We both held an objective, we both slew each others Warlord, and neither of our units were in enemy deployment zones. My success was achieved solely by getting First Blood. I look forward to facing Tyranids again, as they're a very interesting army to play against. I had almost forgotten that.


Reinforcements Have Arrived

Unfortunately, I've been unable to get a game in for a couple of months now. My LGS has been hosting tournaments and leagues, which have siphoned away the gamers and any available gaming tables whenever I try to throw down. And since I am absolutely terrible at competitive play, I've been leaving the Whiz early to come home and paint.

Including most of my finished terrain pieces, here's a picture of every single fully-painted model I own. Some of which were re-painted since my last full army shot.

Full Force • 2013

Full Force • 2010

Granted, my force from three years ago was also admirable, but has clearly grown into a monster. It's comparison pictures like these that make Games Workshop investors ecstatic.

Anyway, I'll probably get a game in soon since the current league is winding down. As always, I'm looking forward to losing!


I'm Waking Up

I seem to have fallen out of my weekly 40K gaming routine. Never thought that'd happen. I've been staying in the loop, however, checking rumors sites daily and I've been working on my Land Raider Crusader feverishly. After six months without gaming, I finally got a game in last night against Gil's Necrons.

Live to rise.
I put up a good fight but ended up losing ground quickly around turn four. Gil's tactics were good, but the Necrons themselves are just... too damn good. The Stormlord's ability to keep the game in night fight was torture on my mostly-ranged army. And with the ability to re-roll a die once per phase kept the battlefield dark until turn five.

The lightning attacks caused by the Stormlord barely did anything - at most it killed maybe two Marines in the entire game. It's a power that has so much potential on paper but when in practice doesn't seem to do much more than scare an opponent.

I had a few lucky moments. Most of my scatter rolls were on-target which proved especially beneficial for deep strikes.

I might be bleeding,
but I'm still breathing.
I also learned that my Chapter Master can slaughter Scarab Swarms in melee combat "like a boss". Before having his 2+ armor save stripped, he was able to single-handedly take out four Swarms. Even after relying solely on his 4+ invulnerable, he took out another two Swarms before finally succumbing to the tiny metal monsters.

The ancient's arrival.
A Drop Pod escorted a Dreadnought onto the battlefield, which opened fire upon landing and obliterated a handful of Necrons before eventually moving into melee combat and picking off one or two per round. It was satisfying to watch them get crushed.

But in the end, I was overrun and lost the objective. I just didn't have the proper weaponry, or units, to handle the reanimated skeleton robots. Next time I'll take way more flamers, and make sure to use my blast weapons against the Scarabs.


Back from PAX East

As awesome and fun as PAX East was this year, I have to admit its Warhammer 40,000 aspect was severely lacking and disappointing. All three days I brought my army. And all three days there were probably eight players, if not less.

I wish - so much - that they had advertised it better. There was no mention whatsoever of free play on the schedule or web site, which naturally hurt the potential number of participants.

A player from my local gaming store, Chris, won the 40K tournament for the second year in a row. While that's great for him, it's also a reminder of the "small world" effect. I could battle Chris any Tuesday night at the Whiz, so if I'm looking for new players to battle against, it would appear I have to look for bigger or farther events.

To make things a little more disappointing, Games Workshop apparently never had a booth booked at PAX East. Despite the fact that the official PAX East web site had a banner advertising their attendance, it must've been intended for either PAX Prime or PAX Aus.

Thankfully, I wasn't the only one who believed this falsity. All the other 40K players there believed the banner as well. Shame, really, on yet another missed opportunity by GW. On the other hand, Wizards of the Coast, Catalyst Game Labs, and Privateer Press all had booths.

I got to meet some of the Borderlands team from Gearbox Software!

Regardless of what a flop PAX East was in regards to wargaming, I had an absolute blast with my friend and girlfriend. It was so much fun and I cannot wait for next year!


GW Kills MWG

While I've never bought from MiniWarGaming, I feel they hit the nail on the head in this video about Games Workshop's new retailer trade agreement.

I can only assume this will be the death of The War Store, Bitz Barn, and many other online bits sellers. Shame on GW for cannibalizing the hobby it popularized.


PAX East 2013

Last year was my first PAX East convention, and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. After my friend Dave and I passed through the entrance, he asked me if Games Workshop was going to have a booth there. I replied that I doubted it since this was primarily a video game convention (although the recently defunct THQ made the Dawn of War, Dawn of War II, Kill Team, and Space Marine video games).

Well, as we came around a corner, imagine my surprise when I saw this:

Cosplayers at PAX East 2012

Then I saw the tabletop gaming section. Table after table of Warmachine/Hordes, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, Magic: The Gathering, and even Dungeons & Dragons.

Unfortunately Games Workshop was only supported by volunteer fans, as they hadn't sent a single representative to help showcase their games - despite the fact that Privateer Press, Wizards of the Coast, Cryptozoic, Reaper, and many other face-to-face gaming companies had staff available.

After probably realizing their missed opportunity, this year Games Workshop, accompanied by Forge World and Black Library, have booked a booth (#6022). I can only hope that they do more than just sell stuff, like maybe run demo games or painting competitions.

Knowing there will be gaming tables, I plan on bringing my army for one of the days to play a mini-tournament. I'll undoubtedly lose all my matches, but it should still be a fun experience to meet and battle new opponents.

I wanted to make an all-new powerhouse list lead by two HQs that utilized the rules for Lysander and Vulkan but after doing the math I figured out it'd cost me roughly $35 to custom-build my own WYSIWYG models for them - and right now I'm just too broke to be able to afford it. Hopefully I'll have it done in time for PAX '14!



Unfortunately, I have not been able to play 40K the past couple months because my car was at the mechanic's for about a month, and during that time my live-in girlfriend was in an accident with her car.

Things have been quite hectic considering we went from two cars, to one car, to a rental. Compromises must be made, so my Tuesday nights have been sacrificed to accommodate our situation.

My car's repaired, and my girlfriend's car will be back soon enough. It won't be too long until I can game again.

In the meantime, I've been painting a few 40K and Dungeons & Dragons miniatures.

Until next time!