Tuesday, July 18, 2017

8th Edition 40k Thoughts: So Far... So Damn Good

Valhallans defend their supply fields from infiltrating Chaos forces on Hammerfall V.  Captain Gloval personally leads the defense of the control tower while the mysterious Eversor assassin known only as The Ghoul of Hammerfall lurks nearby, waiting in the dark to punish the wicked, the alien and the abhorrent. 

This past weekend I had probably a too-huge game of 8th edition 40k with my buddy Jason at Headwound minis. He brought his immaculately converted and painted Nurgle forces upon which I would cut my teeth (ew,) as they properly ransacked my Imperial air base in a bold dawn-to-dusk raid. 1500 points and several hours later I was feeling pretty damn satisfied that my Valhallans were properly bloodied and performed to themes very well. Better, I felt like I had the hang of a game new enough to me that I bother to say it with feeling.

I will post up a batrep shortly (still sorting out the Photobucket debacle) but wanted to share some thoughts on how this game went, given I have been staring at 40K in recent years through the store window, despite owning a bunch of stuff and having played it previously for a very long time. Others have done a way better job at pro/con'ing this edition, like my pal Joe, so I leave it to them for the long form. On the below, my view comes mostly as a Guard player wading into the new rules.

Story: The game was full of dramatic story-inducing moments that came from play outcomes. YES. I think that correlates to the Indexes and how they are all unique in appreciable ways and also, the simplified ruleset. Universal Special Rules of last edition are gone, and while I get that their algebra helped organize features and functions of units well across lots of different play, like competitive to casual, especially through a TO's eyes, it seemed dull and bookish to me. I play great games like Bushido, Imperial Assault, Strange Aeons, Robotech... these games have story in their play and feel unique as you navigate through your game and it helps if they not so cumbersome. I didn't feel that in previous 40k editions, it felt like an Advanced Philosophy class trip, lost and plodding through an endless swamp and debating the whole time about Jungian Star Wars themes. The current indexes and rules have what seem like a lot of fun options that breathe some anima into the people, place and things involved. Isn't that the point? Reading Dan Abnett to replay those conflicts?  Give me the damn story and you can keep your the tourney complexity. More on the Index in a sec.

Army Building: Still cumbersome compared to other games. Was sorta hoping GW gets stats and costs on one page. Still perplexed why there is Battle Forged play and other mode, it isn't like they give you distinct Campaign and Skirmish modes like FFG's Imperial Assault, but a sit-down over a cup of tea gets it done. Costs were reportedly up this edition but my old 1500 point force came in about the same. What I noticed most coming back to the game was the wargear options are all gone from the index, so while I couldn't spend a last few points on Carapace armor or Master Crafted weapons, I was inherently avoiding the pitfall of previous editions: wargear splurges. All that aside as a positive, it did force me to drop heavy weapon options in squads if I wanted to squeeze in another Sentinal or what have you. Tough choices as usual but easier to get to the table and the Index has enough ability that comes with the basic costs, including commonly used squad-level gear like vox, standards, med kits, etc.



Index Staying Power: Remains to be seen but the counter-culture habits I live by are alive and singing Glee's cover of Born to Run when I consider that I could happily play out of the free ruleset along with Index Imperium 2 and Xenos Index 2, maybe forever. One of my best friends Pete at Not Snakes Gaming noted that 40k is no longer competitive and as I agree with that I also give thanks for it. I want games that feel right to characters and situation. As far as Astra Militarum, Chaos and Orks go, Indexes feel right to the character of the forces, situations and games I want. Codex releases may change things like complexity and dissonance with who you think your army is, but I am content playing these Indexes instead of a Codex, if I prefer one over the other in the end. Finally, a good value from GW with each book around US$25 and including what equals several codex to boot.

Terrain: Just weird, these terrain rules. The game now boils down to LOS and if you simply have it or not. Cover saves don't seem to be factoring unless you are talking Characters by themselves and I think that does speed up the game a bit. So terrain effects are dead? Yes! Wait, unless you use Fortification rules in Imperial Index 1, then it seems like a U turn in the face of easy. I love building terrain more than any other part of this hobby. I am a bit perturbed since I took pride in building terrain that reflects play. A few weeks ago Joe mentioned all of this terrain rule jazz to me and I joked it sounds like Privateer game's norm of flat mousepad terrain. Seeing GW releasing what equates to the same thing in their boxed forces makes sense now, given how terrain rules read. So be it. Building LOS blocking terrain can be fun too.

LOS: Sorta weird. Facing and fire arcs are gone (unless you are a Valkyrie pivoting to go Supersonic for some reason) and said Valkyrie was clipped by a Nurgle Vindicator who fired backwards at me without pivoting. Did not see that coming. Also, getting LOS on a pile of Plaguebearers by the Leman Russ tread  was weird as well. Just gotta get used to that.

Movement Phase: Fine.

Psychic Phase: Interesting, must explore more.

Shooting Phase: Easier. Sorry, I guess seasoned players may balk and say what difference is there really but I will tell you it is way easier for me to learn and also to teach to my son, so that means something. Statlines are verbatim now, good when you have to keep your short term memory filled with other bits of episodic and particular rules, etc.

Melee Phase: Finally a melee phase where I feel like I have some game in the options, even if it means choosing the order my Valhallans are slaughtered, since after all, their job is to die to slow things down, not win hand-to-hand. Players alternate choosing which side of their side of melee fights is cool. Having a say means I have some initiative in how things die on both sides. I like that, especially as a guard player.

Morale Phase: Again, good. I was never a fan of all the modifiers some games pile on, especially over large forces and games. This seems fair and leaves me options to get more shooting in after falling back. Good.

Game Speed: Lots of debate on this point. I believe my experienced brethren when they say the 8th changes do not really speed things up but I do think the play is cleaner and not as prone to operational mistakes that can change the outcomes. THAT is something I like a lot and something I attribute with speed. A short game filled with re-sets and backtracking from complicated play feels slow to me.

So overall, not bad at all. I give it an A-/B+ for how the state of the game stands and what seems like GW listening to at least some of the customer base on what they want. Looking forward to getting some more GW to the paint bench and more 40k in the books (be that Index or Codex.)

Batrep soon! Bye!

-Yeti

Friday, June 30, 2017

F**k Photobucket

Cool. With no warning, I have to pay US$400.00 to upgrade all the linked images on this blog. So, apologies for no images for awhile until I figure a way out of this mess.

Internets. Sheesh.

NOTE: YOU CAN RIGHT CLICK ANY BROKEN IMAGE AND OPEN THE IMAGE IN A NEW WINDOW TO VIEW IT. At least the pics aren't totally gone.

https://www.ghacks.net/2017/06/30/photobucket-now-charges-399-for-third-party-hosted-images/

Friday, May 5, 2017

40K: Valhallan Governor/VIP


I had a request from my buddy Joe over at my gaming club PAGE, asking to borrow a model to represent a VIP objective like a Political Officer, Planetary Governor or some such, for the upcoming Sword Sworn 40K narrative event on May 13th. This is from the same guy who runs 40K narrative events at NOVA, so, plan on a good time if you are in the Philly area:



Sword Sworn: Long is the patience of the Emperor's enemies, waiting in the dark to strike at his most glorious heroes when the time is ripe. Now that moment has come for the vaunted Swords of Dorn, as one of their recruitment worlds is besieged and all their allies are called to its aid!

I have a few models that would work for a VIP already, sitting around moldering in my Valhallan collection, but I thought a dive into the bitz box would be fun and a fast aside from Bushido.

Original GW model. The cape made it onto my Valhallan Col.
Parts: The parts for this were a Solar Macharius body, slightly trimmed and cleaned, a right arm from the IG tank sprue (do they even make that anymore?) and a standard Astra Militarum left arm with a totally vintage 1980's Imperial Guard hand; almost all of these bitz are OLDER THAN MY 12 YEAR OLD SON. Weird.

After my club runs the Sword Sworn event and I get this guy back I will add a holstered bolt pistol to his right side, maybe counting him as a Senior Officer or even an Inquisitor.

The Build: I painted him up in matching colors for my Valhallans with base colors, what I call underpainting and then finished with my custom water-based stain for finishing. Check out the Valhallan tab to the left for more examples of painting with stain if that interest you, I have posts on that going back years.

Total time for this VIP was 2 hours from assembly to priming to paint and basing. Pretty dang fun. WIP pics:


Base colors down, ready for underpainting
Shading and highlights are really geared towards augmenting the toning and colors the stain produces
Just-stained
Dried stain, DulCote and basing







Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TTCombat: Yu Pagoda Finished (For Now)


Part 3 is found here. She's done for now. All-in-all this was a very fun kit. A few closing thoughts on the build: This is a high-quality kit, worth the price, even to the US from the UK. It is well-designed and sturdy, and sections lift off clean during play. With building, it pays to take your time with the kit and listen to yourself about how you want to modify it, if at all. That said, even unaltered it is beautiful. And imposing! This will dominate your average game of Bushido, with a 11"x11" footprint. Verticality will have to be a house rule in some cases, depending on the game system but for Bushido, well, we will have to have a batrep and see how it changes the game. Lastly, after the roof was together, I plan on running a bead of dark caulk underneath where each of the roof tiles meet, to strengthen it just a bit, and keep flex from warping or popping the tiles; just a suggestion.

I am really looking forward to some Bushido games with this... well done TTCombat!




TTCombat: Yu Pagoda Build Log 3



Part 2 can be found here.

At this point, the Pagoda is very sturdy, mostly together and I admit that I wasted one night moving figures around on it making ninja noises in the basement. Pretty damn exciting for me. The wife probably died a little inside.

The instructions have the doors either glued open or closed. The doors themselves are 2 parts, a front detail layer of laser cut grey board and a backer to make it rigid. I wanted two things with these doors: 1. keep the detail to let light through and 2. Make them movable.


First I tackled the detail/light issue. That was fairly easy, I simply backed the painted detail layer pieces with parchment, glued with matte Mod Podge and left the original second backer off. Sorta flimsy but ok and beautiful with lights showing through.

Then I spent another night finding a way to make the doors move. I prefer a more forgiving design when it comes to making 6 sets of doors movable.


I finally settled on a design where the door hangs via a metal track on the wall, and a magnet attached to the door, allowing the doors to move around and also simply detach when gamer hands smack around inside the buildings.


My design was mostly because I could source all the parts from what I had laying around and reproduce it over 12 doors. The tracks were size 2 jeweler's saw blades, tooth-down, which happen to perfectly span the width of the walls, sorta like a lintel. I used Mineral Spirits to de-grease the blades and then used, you guessed it, matte Mod Podge to glue down the tracks.




I cut a length of the backer to lag over the top of the door and leave a space for a flexible magnet. Getting them all together only needed some trimming by eye to get the magnets on top of the door flush and square. Flexible magnet ribbon is best for this, about US$3.00 from the DIY. I just had to use Mineral Spirits to get the adhesive off for the super glue to adhere.

So that's it for the doors! The lights are simply flickering LED yellow lights from Amazon placed around the inside of the Pagoda, keep it simple.

Then I weathered the roof but you see it too much in the pics. It warms the grey sufficiently so it looks good next to the trees and such.



I then set about making some planters of flowers using wooden bobbins primed grey and weathered a bit after drybrushing greys to off-white, Woodland Scenics green sponge and flower flock.

So that is pretty much it for now. I plan on detailing the inside of the pagoda at some point, especially after I get a few games in with it.



Up next: GLAMOUR SHOTS and final thoughts

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TTCombat: Yu Pagoda Build Log 2



This is a continuation of part one, found here.

Okay, where we last left off I had the unfinished pagoda separated parts out from sprues, cleaned and wiped with a cheese cloth (aka tack cloth.) This grabs all the soot from the laser cutter and sawdust from sanding parts, which keeps the painting clean.

I marked up the instructions with all my colors
For the record, these downloadable instructions are good overall, just a heads-up that the first floor awning assembly is tricky with the keys for the corners... make sure you dry fit them the right way, they go in a particular order.

Beware. Be read. Be ready.
I decided early on to paint these pieces as I went, thinking that the time taken to paint with rattle cans will save a bunch of grief in the long run. So, all prepped, I took several evenings to spray prime all parts with Rustoleum Grey sandable auto primer and then Army Painter spray colors.


Pro tip, if you are spray painting a bunch of stuff and the day is sunny but low humidity, you can put your painted parts in a dry cardboard box and it acts like an oven to speed up total curing. So, spray paint, once dry to touch, throw that stuff in a sunny box and let it do it's thang. Keeps grit off the dry-down too.

I kept the colors on this simple. 3 colors plus weathering at the end (excepting the roof, which was a grey I had laying around.) I used Army Painter colors Army Green, Leather Brown and Necrotic flesh spray with matching brush on paints (which are extremely close matches.) In the end, I used 1.5 cans of spray primer and 1 can of each color, more-or-less.



I used Mod Podge Matte finish to glue everything together, except for the base, which I used Gorilla Glue for extra bond strength. That beautiful base will bear a bit of weight so it is smart to used a stronger glue for that. All parts sprayed together, I proceeded to fit pieces together and glue. Note that with the tabs, it helps to round off the edges to make fitting easier.

Laying up the parts, facade added as well... painting them separately makes for a clean finish.


You better cheese cloth the hell out of the gray board. Test fit looks good. Tip: Use blue painters tape when you glue the roof down. Apply glue, adjust roof sections until they are level and use the painters tape to hold the parts together as it dries. Since the roof parts tend to bend and not line up exactly, the tape really helps pull everything square.

Roof parts primed black then sponge/dapple painted with grays.

Up next, modifying the doors so they move, finishing details, lights, final assembly and glamour shots!

-Yeti