Friday, February 7, 2014

Black Templar Landraider Lists x 4 (1850 and 2000)

So yesterday I did a Land Raider Spam list for Blood Angels and thought, what the heck, why not do one for Space Marines as well. Now there is really only one effective way to do this for Space Marines and that is as Black Templars. This is because only Crusader Squads can swap out bolters for chainswords and perform the job of an Assault Squad.


List one will have Forge World. List 2 will not.

1850 Black Templars List 1
HQ- Emperor's Champion- 140
HQ- Techmarine- 70: Power Axe, Auspex
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad- 225: Thunder Hammers & Storm Shields
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 260: Multi-melta
Troops- Crusader Squad- 215: Sword Brother, Power Fist & Grav Pistol; Melta-gun, Power Sword
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 260: Multi-melta
Troops- Crusader Squad- 210: Sword Brother, Power Sword & Grav Pistol; Flamer, Power Fist
Heavy Support- Land Raider Redeemer- 250: Multi-melta
Heavy Support- Fire Raptor Gunship- 220: TL Autocannon Turrets, Hellstrike Missiles

1850 Black Templars List 2
HQ- Emperor's Champion- 140
HQ- Techmarine- 70: Power Axe, Auspex
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad- 225: Thunder Hammers & Storm Shields
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 260: Multi-melta
Troops- Crusader Squad- 215: Sword Brother, Power Fist & Grav Pistol; Melta-gun, Power Sword
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 260: Multi-melta
Troops- Crusader Squad- 210: Sword Brother, Power Sword & Grav Pistol; Flamer, Power Fist
Fast Attack- Storm Talon Gunship- 110
Fast Attack- Storm Talon Gunship- 110 
Heavy Support- Land Raider Redeemer- 250: Multi-melta

2000 Black Templars List 1
HQ- Emperor's Champion- 140
HQ- Chaplain Grimaldus- 185
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad- 225: Thunder Hammers & Storm Shields
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 260: Multi-melta
Troops- Crusader Squad- 215: Sword Brother, Power Fist & Grav Pistol; Melta-gun, Power Sword
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 270: Multi-melta, Extra Armour
Troops- Crusader Squad- 215: Sword Brother, Power Sword & Grav Pistol, Melta-bomb; Flamer, Power Fist
Heavy Support- Land Raider Redeemer- 270: Multi-melta, Extra Armour
Heavy Support- Fire Raptor Gunship- 220: TL Autocannon Turrets, Hellstrike Missiles

2000 Black Templars List 2
HQ- Emperor's Champion- 140
HQ- Chaplain Grimaldus- 185
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad- 225: Thunder Hammers & Storm Shields
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 260: Multi-melta
Troops- Crusader Squad- 215: Sword Brother, Power Fist & Grav Pistol; Melta-gun, Power Sword
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 260: Multi-melta
Troops- Crusader Squad- 215: Sword Brother, Power Sword & Grav Pistol, Melta-bomb; Flamer, Power Fist
Fast Attack- Storm Talon Gunship- 140- TL Lascannons
Fast Attack- Storm Talon Gunship- 110 
Heavy Support- Land Raider Redeemer- 250: Multi-melta

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Blood Angels/Flesh Tearers Landraider Lists x 4 (1850 and 2000)

Just messing around with my Codex and came up with what would be, to me, a fun list (actually 4!) to take and just lay down some destruction. I don't believe it would be super competitive, but it would definitely throw people for a loop and be hard to destroy, definitely a tournament spoiler list IMO. It really just lacks board control. Why? Well both lists operate around the core of 3 Land Raiders!!!!


There are a few variants based on changing HQ selections.

1850 Blood Angels
HQ- Librarian- 145: Terminator Armour w/ Storm Shield
Elites- Brother Corbulo- 105
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad (5)- 225: 5 x Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 240: Multi-melta, Extra Armour
Troops- Assault Squad (10)- 250: No Jump Packs, Power Axe & Inferno Pistol, 2 x Plasma Pistol
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Redeemer- 215: Multi-melta
Troops- Assault Squad (10)- 225: No Jump Packs, Power Sword & Hand Flamer, 2 x Flamer
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 225: Multi-melta
Heavy Support- Fire Raptor Gunship- 220: TL Autocannon Turrets, Hellfire Missiles

1850 Flesh Tearers
HQ- Gabriel Seth- 160
Elites- Brother Corbulo- 105
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad (5)- 225: 5 x Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 225: Multi-melta
Troops- Assault Squad (10)- 250: No Jump Packs, Power Axe & Inferno Pistol, 2 x Plasma Pistol
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Redeemer- 215: Multi-melta
Troops- Assault Squad (10)- 225: No Jump Packs, Power Sword & Hand Flamer, 2 x Flamer
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 225: Multi-melta
Heavy Support- Fire Raptor Gunship- 220:  TL Autocannon Turrets, Hellfire Missiles

2000 Blood Angels
HQ- Librarian- 145: Terminator Armour w/ Storm Shield
Elites- Brother Corbulo- 105
Elites- Sanguinary Priests (2)- 145: 1 x Terminator Amour, 1 x Hand Flamer
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad (5)- 225: 5 x Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 241: Multi-melta, Extra Armour, Search Light
Troops- Assault Squad (10)- 255: No Jump Packs, Power Axe & Inferno Pistol, Melta Bomb, 2 x Plasma Pistol
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Redeemer- 231: Multi-melta, Extra Armour, Search Light
Troops- Assault Squad (9)- 207: No Jump Packs, Power Sword & Hand Flamer, Melta Bomb, Flamer
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 226: Multi-melta, Search Light
Heavy Support- Fire Raptor Gunship- 220: TL Autocannon Turrets, Hellfire Missiles

2000 Flesh Tearers
HQ- Gabriel Seth- 160
Elites- Brother Corbulo- 105
Elites- Sanguinary Priests (2)- 135: 1 x Terminator Amour
Elites- Terminator Assault Squad (5)- 225: 5 x Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Crusader- 241: Multi-melta, Extra Armour, Search Light
Troops- Assault Squad (10)- 250: No Jump Packs, Power Axe & Inferno Pistol, 2 x Plasma Pistol
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider Redeemer- 231: Multi-melta, Extra Armour, Search Light
Troops- Assault Squad (9)- 207: No Jump Packs, Power Sword & Hand Flamer, Meltabomb, Flamer
Dedicated Transport- Land Raider- 226: Multi-melta, Search Light
Heavy Support- Fire Raptor Gunship- 220:  TL Autocannon Turrets, Hellfire Missile

So the Fire Raptor is for some top cover and AA with its high volume of fire. You also have 2 tanks in each list with TL Assault Cannons, which should chew through aircraft well enough.
All your shooting is really provided by vehicles. Not daunting amounts, but enough to support IMO, and a good diversity of anti-tank and anti-personnel weaponry between them and the Fire Raptor.

The lists really come down to do you prefer a Librarian or Seth? Seth and Corbulo would go with the squad in the Redeemer. The Terminator characters obviously go in the Crusader with the Terminators. On the Librarian, if I used codex powers, I would take Unleash Rage (grant preferred enemy to my TH/SS termies) and Smite (Assault 4 AP2 shooting is always welcome). The priests really help you in this list as you have such a low model count the FNP really makes a difference AND the list is so reliant on the assault that FC is worth its weight in gold... and corpses. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The love/hate relationship with Games Workshop

So I found a very interesting thread on the BoLS Lounge covering the disdainful relationship the customers/hobbyists have with the company. It is a pretty good read a lot of view points and concepts that I think perfectly capture the animosity we feel towards the peddlers of our selected poison- plastic models. If you read no more of this post, that is fine. Just follow that link. From here on out I just want to explain what I perceive, as a veteran of 14 years now, to be some of the issues, changes and ways forward, essentially diagnosing the "love hate" relationship. Not so much a rant, but it may become emotional and heated at times, and a little stream on consciousness, but I'll try and keep that to a minimum. Here we go...

If I give you all this, can you please make it TRULY worth it?
1- PRICE POINT- This is the big elephant in the room and most common complaint. Especially every summer when GW does their annual price review. In that thread there is a few posts about scale military modeling that make a good point, but at the same time that is some what apples to oranges and it is more appropriate to compare our game to other wargames. GW is a little on the expensive side, yes, but as with any other product out there you are buying a label along with the product. Like buying an Apple product vs a PC. You are paying more for certain aesthetics, features and in some cases, an image of yourself. For us the GW label represents not only high quality miniatures, but also a very large community for gaming, availability of product, a rich extensively deep background and a lot of accessory products (books, video games). I have even done an article in the past on the price increases not being as bad as we make them out to be. Now there are changes that have happened in the few years since that article that have significantly changed the perspective of that article
-Smaller squad sizes. This seems like GW trying to disguise their prices increases by lowering the cost of a box, but we all see through it as the price of the model/army goes up.
-Finecast. Every finecast has been higher in cost than its metal blister. And some of the new plastic blisters (while nicer than finecast) are even more so. Sure they are more hobby friendly (debatable with finecast) but in terms of game employment you are paying more for the same function.
-Competition. GW's competition has gone up exponentially in the last several years. It is ridiculous. The only big thing they have going for them now is that they are established, where as new games have to catch on in local groups. I have seen the kickstarters and yeah they look great/fun, but I am not willing to invest into them without the community in which I am participating doing the same. GW/PP are safe bets because someone will be playing that game and you will be able to participate in a community. Just because some of these things are popular on the internet does not mean that translates into local success.
Do I think GW's prices have gotten a little out of hand. Yes. Fortunately it hasn't spread to every model/range and I really think they were doing it to try and get their short term numbers up and it hasn't worked. I think they are still experimenting. Problem is that this takes time, especially since this is a luxury item and the rate at which it is consumed is not very high. The invisible hand of the market takes much longer to react in this case. However, as I said before you have to compare to other companies.
Recently I have been looking a lot at historical wargaming and starting a Samurai Army. I lived in Japan for 2 years and I have a deep passion for this. I am even watching The Last Samurai as I type this.
Now look at the Perry Miniatures for them: Samurai Minis.  Most of those kits are lower quality and only in groups of 5-7 models, which puts them on the same price point. But lower quality still AND finding the players to play WAC (War and Conquest) with will be harder. Sure there are some plastic minis out there too, but the range is less diverse and not all historical ranges have even as much plastic as this. My point being that this is more expensive when it comes to the whole perspective of utility, model count and comprehensive range. HOW EVER, there are plenty of new GW models that are ruining this comparison. SM Centurions and the new plastic Librarian shall be used as my case in point. Nearly $80 for 3 infantry models. Revisiting my samurai above you will see that 3 mounted Samurai are only 8.50 GBP, or roughly $15. That is a HUGE difference. Even if the Samurai were the same quality, they would be worth up to $30 tops IMO, and that is the price of the SINGLE new Librarian! On top of this outrageous increase are the rule books. Not only are these getting ridiculously priced, but they are coming at us rapid fire and it is hard. I want to buy models, not more rules. I bought the WAC rulebook for $30. That is all I need to play. The entire game. Models after that. I can't even buy a DIGITAL PRODUCT from GW for less than that (and I have to have a several hundred dollar tablet to even make that useful! Though if that is why you got a tablet you have other issues).
So is price as bad as people make it out. I don't think so. HOWEVER I do believe it to be an issue. Sure we may be buying the Lexus of models, but we may be paying Bentley prices. Then when it comes to rules we are getting the handling of a Reliant Robin.

I need to know them all first...
2- RULES- So are GW games the best out there? I'll say they used to be and they have made some of the greatest wargames rules around. Blood Bowl and Necromunda spring to mind for me. BFG and Aeronautica Imperialis are great games that excellently capture the difficult concepts of Naval and Aerial combat in table top wargaming, with the just the right balance of realism with practically for what is ultimately a game. I would play Microsoft flight simulator for ultra realism. BUT These are specialist games (which is a whole other rant for me) and are not the core of the GW hobby. What we are concerned with for the purposes of this article and GW's future are the rules for 40k and Fantasy (not LotR. I will get into that later). In the past the issue has been the monolithic slowness of GW updating rules or answer critical questions. In fact most of the time, FAQs wouldn't provide ANY KEY ANSWERS and would just leave it up to TOs to set a standard that we all fell in line with. Now this has changed, as if GW thought "Well everyone complains about how long it takes to put out new rules, so lets give them some rule diarrhea." Over reaction is what it seems like. And in a way it seems that this is also to boost the bottom line as quickly as possible. The issue is none of these rules seem to be play tested, especially digital products (since they can be slapped together and packaged in a day). Sure I don't want to wait 10 years between codicies, but having game wide changes every 60 days is really REALLY fast.
Along with rules, I want to discuss the concept of a "Beer and Pretzel" game. First of all, this game is played by people as young as 13-14. Suggesting it as a Beer type game seems a little inappropriate, but that is beside the point. Lets say it is. You know what else is? Poker. Groups of guys get together from all over and laugh and smoke and joke while playing poker, betting 10 bucks here, 20 bucks there. It is all for a good time. But at the same time their is a super competitive side to Poker where thousands, and even millions of dollars are won and lost. There is even a "Wold Series" of Poker. What I am trying to point out here is that just because a game can be and should be able to be enjoyed in a relaxed environment does not mean you can't also design it to be super competitive and strict. Good solid rules should be able to adapt to both styles of play and not just one or the other. So this war that you seem to wage on the tournament circuit just doesn't seem right. Why would you handicap your own market. These are the guys that will buy anything to give them an edge and will most likely get several armies. Encourage their addiction. We have expansions like apocalypse for the crazy narrative fun. The core rule should be left tight enough, with proper playtesting and balance, to allow competitive play.
40k is by far the most widely popular wargame, but if it was brand new today I don't think it would be. Make rules to make it so it would be and not only will you see less complaining, but sales will increase. This leads into marketing decisions that get made about army releases. Often an army goes unupdated because its models apparently don't sell. But if new rules were forth coming, balanced and fun to play for that army, I guarantee models would sell.

Hmm, there is a subtle difference...
3- CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP-This really covers alot of things, and is entirely different from customer service. I will say that without a doubt GW and its related companies have some of the best customer service there is. All my issues have been promptly fixed and I have been rewarded for being a loyal customer. I even got a Free BANEBLADE out of a severely messed up order, and it was the Post Office's fault! They forgot once to send me my free White Dwarf gift which should have been $15-20. I had said I would like BFG when I initially signed up for WD (they were giving you choices at the time). When I called about my free gift they apologized and sent me 2 battleships, worth $70 at the time. This though is a separate concept however. I am sure people have equal experiences with Home Depot and Game Stop.
What I am talking about is the long term relationship that GW should be cultivating since it is selling a HOBBY not a PRODUCT. This is a key concept that they may have forgotten.
First of all when I call to talk to customer service, I often find my self on the phone with the White Dwarf staff. Now I am not saying that this is a bad thing, but it makes we wonder about employee management within the studio. We already know about their one man store method and that is a highly debatable subject. While on one had it makes sense because they can't have a community grow around one companies games as we the players just don't do that, especially in this day and age. The FLGS does that so much better. However, at the same time, now I go in and there is just one guy who is often busier pushing product, teaching starter games, or stocking shelves rather than interacting with the community within their store. There are exceptions but it is nearly impossible to build an entire community around a single store.
But even more so than the business model is the alienation of the hobbyist, or rather the reclassification of the hobbyist as a customer. A customer implies I only buy product from you. I am not just a customer. I am a hobbyist. I am total emmersion. I buy the books, play the video games, paint the models and play the table top game. The better you facilitate this, the more loyalty you garner and ultimately the more I buy and encourage other people to do the same. Decisions like shutting down 3rd party add ons, bits suppliers, your own forums, removing hobby and painting sections from your website, making WD a catalogue and killing black gobbo, and shutting down Specialist Games WITH NO ANNOUNCEMENT all tell me you don't care about the people who buy your product, so long as we buy it. But as I said this is a hobby, you are selling me something FOR LIFE. I am sticking by you. Is it so much to ask you do the same?
Along with this line of thought, GW should support outside tournaments and cons more. Let them set up and bring the players to you and then openly share with them. Panels, prize support, tables/terrain, etc. etc. And sell product there! More cost efficient than Gamesday as well!  Participate in the community! Cultivate it! We want to be apart of YOUR HOBBY! HELP US DO THAT! And for goodness sakes, start a PR department. Nothing big, but having a better understanding of your fan base is critical when you are selling to a niche nerd market. All you do is advertise, and not ever very effectively. You really already have to be in the market of nerd stuff/wargaming to be exposed to GW advertising, and by then you are already hooked on something, likely a GW product already. Reach out to new gamers and build relationships with those you have.

I could go on into myriads of other things, but I think these are the big 3. Sure there is my constant campaign against GW LotR line and I think how abandoning that could help improve alot of things. Read the linked article for a better description of that. I also have strong feelings about specialist games and codex designs, but those are sub categories of the above and some of them based upon a personal bias.

But maybe GW is turning around. Forge World is doing AMAZING STUFF. While more expensive than GW, they are even higher in quality and for alot of things, it is reasonable to get the FW for an extra $10 and have something that much cooler. I also saw in a FW newsletter recently that they are attending some 3rd party events and cons, plus they have their own open days and HH weekenders. People LOVE FW but HATE GW these days. Maybe corporate should look as to why one is being so successful, especially in terms of customer relationship, and start modeling after that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review: Lords of Mars by Graham McNeill

So I recently finished reading Lords of Mars by Graham McNeill. What a page turner. I could not put it down. Underway on a ship is can be hard for me to find time to read/finish books sometimes, especially is they are just okay. But this one was done in a matter of days. I really REALLY enjoyed it.


This was the second in the series and it lived up to its predecessor (Priests of Mars) well. Both books have been fantastic and have really expounded on such an important piece of 40k lore: Explorator Fleets. Even though it had been sometime since I had read the first in the series, the story arc was easy to pick back up on and I quickly remembered all the characters and major plot points that I needed to carry over into this book. This is critical and one of the most important aspects of story writing and I think better executed here than in any of his Ultramarines/Iron Warriors books.

What is most impressive is his character development in this series. I thoroughly enjoy every character. For some 40k hardliners there will be some flaws. The Black Templars are a little less Fanatical than typically portrayed and the Ad Mech personnel a little more human as well. But to me this was critical in conveying the story. Certain BL books it is okay, if not encouraged/expected for the Mechanicus to be little more than unrelatable robots, but when they are ALL CENTRAL CHARACTERS you need to be able to connect to your audience, much the same way as James Swallow did for Assassins in the HH novel Nemesis (though he may have gone a step too far with the Eversor, however that is a separate discussion). This humanity though was definitely reeled back in with the "mutiny" subplot onboard the Speranza (an Ark Mechanicus). I don't want to give away too much, but it is key in separating the humans that serve the Mechanicus from the post-humans that run it.

There was definitely some good action, including a Titan sequence which I ALWAYS LOVE. The fights against the battle robots and crystal constructs were good, but overall nothing ground breaking for a 40k novel. I will say some small contributions to the lore were greatly appreciated. The Land Leviathans and the politics/traditions within a Titan Legion were amazing additions. Along with that one of the best action sequences actually occurs within the Manifold, which is cool and highly unique.

Over all the book was fun and I greatly look forward to Gods of Mars, the third and final installment. Not as inspiring, revealing or ground breaking in terms of the Ad Mech as far as say McNeill's earlier HH work in Mechanicum or Abnett's work in Titanicus, and this may be infact a step back from the inhumanity of those books, but if those did not exist, this series would be the bench mark for Ad Mech. The only thing keeping it from a perfect score is that it isn't as strong in that aspect as those books were IMO.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 Aquillas- definately worth a read if you have the time, and a MUST if you are a true servant of the Omnisiah.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blood Angels + Inquisition "Skull Bash" DoA (and 2k List)

So the new Inquisition "Codex" has unleashed a whole realm of possibilities for Imperial Armies. Pieces of wargear such as the psyocculum and servo skulls open up some real potential, and at low costs. Looking through this I found a clever trick. Yes it is cheesy/beardy/unfair, but on a competitive circuit I think it can definitely give the Blood Angels a bit more bite, and bring back the glory of 5th edition descent of angels lists.

I call this the Skull Bash.

NOTE: I scanned through the BRB several times and couldn't find anything that makes the trick below illegal. If you have information counter to that PLEASE comment and let me know the error of my ways. Specifically give the section and page number in the rulebook.


Skull-
Take two inquisitors of your choosing. Equip them how you like, but you must MUST take MAXIMUM SERVO SKULLS. That is 6 skulls. For those of you who don't know, servo skulls subtract 1d6 from scatter for Deep Strike and Blasts w/in a 12" radius. Now Blood Angels have Descent of Angels which ALSO subtracts 1d6 from Deep Strike. So effectively you have six 24" circles where there is no scattering for Blood Angels.  The great part is only 3 are required to get full board coverage, so with all the overlapping coverage, it is nearly impossible for you opponent to move within 6" of more than 3 a turn, meaning you can have coverage to guarantee what is coming next.

Bash-
Now to maximize this-Heroic Intervention and Fast Vindicators. Mainly Heroic Intervention. Having a unit that can Assault the turn is arrives from deep strike is great. Being able to place the unit with 100% accuracy is brutal. Insanely so. This has the potential to make Blood Angel Vanguard Veterans one of the deadliest units in the game. The fast vindicators can add to this brutality as you end up with highly mobile Demolisher cannon blasts that can only scatter 2" stationary, which is a guaranteed hit essentially, or max of 6" otherwise, which is still AMAZING.

Spice up the whole mix with some other nasty Inquisition Tools and Astorath as your Warlord. Why Astorath- well making the Vanguard Vets furious assault 50% only adds to their undeniable lethality on the board.


Here is an example list I put together

Primary Detachment- Blood Angels
HQ- Astorath the Grim- 220
Elites- Sanguinary Priest (2)- 100
Troops- Scout Squad (10)- Sniper Rifles, Cammo Cloaks, Missile Launcher- 190
Troops- Scout Squad (10)- Sniper Rifles, Cammo Cloaks, Missile Launcher- 190
Fast Attack- Vanguard Veterans (5)- 5 x Power Weapons, Jump Packs- 225
Fast Attack- Vanguard Veterans (5)- 5 x Power Weapons, Jump Packs- 225
Fast Attack- Vanguard Veterans (5)- 4 x Power Weapons, Power Fist, Jump Packs- 235
Heavy Support- Vindicator- 145
Heavy Support- Vindicator- 145
Fortification- Aegis Defense Line- Quad Cannon- 100

Inquisitorial Detachment
HQ- Ordo Xenos Inquisitor- Power Armour, 3 x Servo Skulls, Conversion Beamer, Psyker, Force Sword- 117
HQ- Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor- Power Armour, 3 x Servo Skulls, Psyocculum, Liber Heresius, Psyker, Force Sword- 107

Pts: 1999 Scoring Units: 2-4 KPs:12-14

So the priests and inquisitors camp in the Scout Squads. Place the one with the Liber Heresius in the Aegis Line, as the Split Fire it can provide will be best suited there. Place the priest on the quad gun, which is really your only anti-flyer defense. The Psyocculum + Split Fire + Sniper can make the squad incredibly deadly against armies with heavy amounts of psykers, like Grey Knight and Eldar. With their psyker rule, I recommend Divination for the obvious reasons of boosting shooting in the sniper squads. Meanwhile the other inquisitor brings the conversion beamer to the army, adding some extra high range, high S fire power that is otherwise lacking.