Lifehacks for Shadows of Brimstone

Haven't updated my blog in a few months, but that's alright with me. I never intended for this site to be much more than a personal journal with the occasional article aimed towards the random hobbyists that wander here.

On that note, this article will be sort of a lifehack for those who play Shadows of Brimstone. It's just a few tricks we've picked up on in my group and I figured I'd share them.

These little boxes are $1 at Walmart, stack atop each other, and have click-lock sides. They're a must-have for storing all the dice and tokens in the game.

Speaking of which, we've found that the best way to keep your tokens "in" your sidebag (if they constantly get slid around by your elbows, papers, dice, or cat) try sliding the card and the tokens into a card sleeve. It turns your sidebag into an actual bag!

If you're having trouble remembering what you have equipped versus what you're carrying to sell later, or the items slide around on the table in front of you, try using one of these card collector pages for easy tracking!

And although I'm sure most SoB players already do this, organizing each card type into sandwich or snack baggies is the best way to go. The game itself is ridiculously heavy on cards, but in practice only 25-33% of them are used in a typical game. The rest can sit in the box, zipped into their little baggies.

Hope this helped!


Repercussions of the FAQ

So with the new FAQ out for a few days now, many players in the community are all up in a tizzy about it. It nerfs some units, buffs others, and in a few cases it completely changes the playstyles of some armies.

On one hand, I was pretty surprised at some of the questions that were asked because they were pretty "duh" questions that were covered in the main rule book. I was even more surprised that the designers actually answered these questions.

On the other hand, one question which I thought had zero credibility being answered was given an answer I did not expect: "Are super-heavy walkers limited to the same firing arc restrictions as regular walkers?"

Why did this make me want to skip over its answer? Well, because there's absolutely no reason in either the main rule book nor in the Imperial Knights codex to make you think otherwise. It says that "super-heavy walkers are walkers" except for a few added USRs (e.g., move through cover, invincible behemoth, fear, etc.) and increased movement distance.

But the answer was shocking: "No."

This changes the game quite a bit. Let me show you how in a couple quick diagrams.

This is now possible.
This is also now possible.
It essentially means that for an entire game, your Knight can double its survivability by stacking its defenses (highest armor value plus an invulnerable save) by always forward-facing its biggest threat. It never has to look away from an anti-vehicle squad, no matter who it's shooting at. Then factor that it can fire each of its 2-5 ranged weapons at different targets. Oh, and then choose one of them to assault (if within range).

Before, I had to tactically position it and make tough choices: Do I pivot to finish off Squad X, exposing a lower armor value to Squad Y? Or do I sacrifice a potential kill point by allowing them to live in order to keep my better armored facing toward the real threat?

You pretty much had to maneuver for an angle like this.
But as a player who uses a couple Dreadnoughts, I'm quite satisfied to see these other rules clarifications:
1. Units can't consolidate after melee combat with a walker.
2. Units can't use more than one krak/haywire grenade or melta bomb per squad in melee combat.

Honestly, I never understood why some people thought they could toss multiple grenades per unit. The rule book very clearly states only one model per unit may attempt to attach a grenade to a vehicle. Not to mention melta bombs are listed under grenades. But it doesn't matter now, that cheat method has been officially shut down.

I'm also so glad to see walls are impassible. It never made sense to me how people would use either a difficult terrain test or the skilled rider USR to just pass through them like ghosts. Seriously, people - they're walls. Walls. Think about it.

And why would anyone think that the same rules stacked with themselves? Anyone who's ever played a tabletop RPG or even wargame would know that bonuses (or penalties) never stack with themselves. So why would shrouded stack with shrouded? Duh.

Sadly, this just shows that the tabletop gaming community is being flooded by WAAC powergamers trying to twist and intentionally misinterpret rules just to benefit themselves.

But, anyway, I'm happy to see GW stopping a lot of these shenanigans. It might actually make for a better gaming experience now.

UPDATE 5/25/16:
Today Games Workshop released the FAQ for Imperial Knights, and it clarifies the firing arcs of super-heavy walkers. Forward-facing weapons have a 45° arc, carapace-mounted weapons have a 360° arc, and arm-mounted weapons have tank sponson arcs (about 225° outwards).


Balance for Idiots

Surprisingly, the most common complaint I hear in the gaming community tends to not actually be Games Workshop's fault: Faction balance.

For some bizarre reason, people seem to think it's possible that two completely different factions should also have mirroring rules, stats, and points costs. This would never happen. If that's the kind of balance you're going for, then go play Ultramarines vs Ultramarines.

Oh, so...
  • Your Chaos Marines don't get And They Shall Know No Fear? That's because they get close combat weapons standard.
  • They don't get Chapter Tactics? They have Chaos Marks instead.
  • No Drop Pods? They get access to Helldrakes and Defilers.
  • No Whirlwinds or Thunderfire Cannons? They get Mutilators and Obliterators.
  • The combi-bolter is more expensive than a stormbolter? That's because it's arguably better than a stormbolter!
There's an old trick question, which weighs more: 5lb of rocks or 5lb of feathers? The correct answer is they're the same weight.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only gamer that understands that this is how balance works. Of course there's been times I've looked at an Eldar or Tau codex and said to myself, "I wish my army had something like that", but this is due to a sudden "the grass is always greener on the other side" mentality which obstructs the bigger picture of balance between unique factions.

Honestly, it seems like the people who complain about these things are just bad at the game. From a tactical/strategic standpoint, I mean. They might know every rule by heart, but they might just be making stupid decisions on the battlefield or in their army lists that's swaying the tide of battle in favor of their opponent. It's similar to the classic case of intelligence vs wisdom.

But I'm just so tired of hearing about how people can't win games because they don't have access to the exact same units and options as their opponents. You're supposed to adapt - both in army roster and playstyle. Anticipate your enemy's moves. Take chances.

If you still lose, then maybe the dice gods were on vacation. Who knows. But do not blame losses on Games Workshop because they don't allow Chaos Marines to have Drop Pods. You and I both know that's not true.


Refurbishing Trends

Lately I've been doing a lot of gaming over at the Battle Standard in Auburn, MA. With my models hitting the table more frequently, I've also been re-working a lot of my older models and sprucing them up: touching up missed/weak spots, enhancing/adding details, and even changing out pieces of them entirely.

Now with real kill tallies!

Although new to the Red Dragons, my Imperial Knight's upgrades (new gun arm, new shield, and added pilot) are a part of this retouching.

Refitted Dreadnought

Here, you can see I swapped my Dreadnought's powerfist for the much cooler looking chainfist. On the table, they both would just count as DCCWs - but now it's significantly more badass!

I'm getting better at painting urban rubble

And I've been doing some work on terrain pieces now, as I'm incredibly sick of painting red and terrain is an excellent way of breaking the monotony.

I'll be posting more updates of my other progresses soon.