Tag Archives: Warhammer 40k

Cancon 2012 + Baby

So . . . I’ve been hell busy because my son was born on the 30th of January. In an effort to get things moving my lovely girlfriend and I went to Cancon the day before, Australia’s largest annual gaming convention which happens to be in the city we live (only partly why I moved there, honest!)

We actually went mainly to support our friend Cazz’s hand-made geek-themed jewellery shop, Nerd Burger.  She sold lots of stuff to gamer girls while the rest of us sat there and drank coffee.  So if you have a gamer significant other, are a gamer girl or just like wearing necklaces with reliefs of Han Solo in carbonite on them, I recommend checking out her site.

Here we are.  From left to right: me, Cazz, Liam.

We also went crazy and bought the board-game Ticket to Ride, which is awesome, and some tiny d20s, which are equally awesome.  I wasn’t playing in the 40k this year because you know, baby at any moment, but I did give them a quick look.  I took some enormously bad photos, only one of which isn’t blurry:

A horrible photo of a really very good Necron Monolith.

I was really keen to see the Infinity tables, as last year they were amazing and they were actually what got me interested in the game.  I wasn’t disappointed:

I love the Blade Runner billboard.

I’m considering going in the Infinity tournament next year – much less commitment in terms of time and prep than the three-day 40k grind I did last year.

So yeah, Cancon was fun as always. I’m going to go and wash nappies now.

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After Action Report: The Invasion of St. Arkham, part IX

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At the close of the invasion, several small skirmishes took place as the defending troops fell back toward the Governor’s fortress.  Lt. Col. Khazak of the Cadian 121st set a series of booby traps to the west of St. Arkham Cathedral to catch the Ultramarines off-guard and draw them into the open, but a breakdown in communications led to some elements of battlegroup Wyvern blundering into the area and mistaking the trapped ordnance for valuable salvage.  The Ultramarines took advantage of the confusion to rout the misdirected Imperial Guard.  Lord Felix Bock, ranking commissariat officer of battlegroup Wyvern, was severely wounded in the engagement by the famous Ultramarine marksman Telion.

– Extract from the “Official History of the Invasion of St. Arkham, 896M41” 

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THE ATTACKERS

  • Brother-Captain Gaius – Space Marine Captain, digital weapons, artificer armour, jump pack, power weapon, bolt pistol, melta bombs
  • Squad Lucianus – Assault squad (5), melta bombs, power weapon
  • Aquiline – Land Speeder Storm, multi-melta
  • Eamhair – Land Speeder Storm, heavy flamer
  • Squad Ulixes – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, missile launcher, plasma pistol, power weapon, drop pod
  • Squad Castiel – Scout Squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Peregrinus – Scout Squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Telion – Scout Squad (5), Sgt. Telion, 4 sniper rifles
  • Brother Constantinus – Venerable Dreadnought, heavy flamer, drop pod
  • Brother Thaddaeus – Dreadnought, 2 hunter-killer missiles, heavy flamer, Lucius pattern drop pod
  • Eugenius – whirlwind
  • Fidelis – whirlwind
  • Leontius – Predator, heavy bolters

THE DEFENDERS

  • Lord Commissar Felix Bock – bolter, power fist
  • Gloominwald Ogryn Auxilia – Bone Ead, 3 Ogryns
  • 8th Kasrkin – 5 Stormtroopers, bolter, power weapon, 2 melta guns
  • Nemesis Coven, Psykana Auxilia – Psyker Battle Squad, 5 Sanctioned Psykers, overseer
  • Cadian 129th – Veteran squad, power fist, 3 plasma guns, chimera with multi-laser and heavy flamer, Grenadiers
  • 44th St. Arkham sharpshooters – Veteran squad, Bastonne, two snipers, Forward Sentries
  • Lt. Blake, 44th St. Arkham – Platoon command squad, bolter, heavy bolter
  • Squad Boxer – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Coleridge – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, melta bombs
  • Platoon fire support – 3 mortar teams
  • Platoon fire support – 3 autocannon teams
  • Hell’s Breath, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Banewolf, hull multi-melta
  • Anathema, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Demolisher, multi-melta sponsons, heavy flamer
  • Storm Giant, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Battle Tank, heavy flamer, pintle heavy stubber

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It’s getting towards the end of the campaign.  In fact, the war is all but over and all that remains is the huge Apocalypse bang that every good campaign needs to go out with.  As you can see Jay and I both took unusual lists, to reflect the fact that this was a skirmish involving forward elements.  There were certainly a lot of Ultramarine scouts staring me down.  I really liked the look of this mission, as I love random brutality that ruins careful planning and makes you have to think on your feet.  Unfortunately, I got what I wished for with this one!

We decided to alter the mission so that both attacker and defender could trigger the explosions.  As luck would have it, most of the objectives I grabbed either exploded or were false objectives, and Jay managed, by the end of the game, to seize all the real ones and avoid getting blown up, all the while playing with a points penalty from last game.  Basically I got totally smashed.  It was one of those games where luck was against me all the way, I just couldn’t roll to save my guy’s lives.  Sort of like what happened to Jay way back in Part IV, so it all evened out over time at least . . .

The main horror I remember was my Lord Commissar and Ogryns charging a squad of scouts and being killed without causing a single casualty.  The best thing that happened for me was my sharpshooter lascannon team exploded one of the Ultramarine whirlwinds on the first shot of the game.  It was all downhill from there.  Jay played a tight game and just sort of swept my guys away, taking the objectives as he went.  After a bit of back and forth, the marines now have a clear lead on campaign points.

Things have been really busy in real life lately (I’m starting to wonder if they’ll ever not be), so it might be a little while until the final battle.  Stay tuned though . . . there’ll be at least one Titan, and some special rules my opponent cooked up. I’ll make sure to break it into a few parts for easier reading.

Result: Space Marine major victory.  Ultramarines 20 points, battlegroup Wyvern 12 points.

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++Last remaining resistance gathering at capital —- Xenos Orks sighted and confirmed: Blood Axe mercenary clan —- In seeking to save his own life Governor has only compounded his crimes —- Justice must be swift and unrelenting++

– Intercepted Astartes Ultramarines Astropathic transmission, St. Arkham system, 896M41

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Do GW games expect too much of the player?

A small Empire patrol ready for a minor skirmish.

I bet that headline is something you don’t read every day, but I don’t mean “too much” intellectually or tactically or whatever.  This is just something I’ve been thinking about recently.  The GW flagship games are expecting more and more from the hobbyist in terms of commitment.  As discussed in this article about scale, they attempt to mash together a skirmish-game level of detail with squad-level game scale.  Historically this is because they started as skirmish games, but some bright spark noticed that skirmish games inherently limit how many models you need to buy.

Nowadays the “standard” game of a GW game is going to involve several hours, probably close to or more than a hundred models on each side (give or take; depending on the factions being fielded) and all of these models are supposed to be assembled from multi-part kits and painted.  This is all fine I suppose.  It’s traditionally how it’s been done in toy soldier wargaming.  But is the modern gamer really capable of committing this much energy to one game?  I definitely don’t think so, based on my experience.  Now that gaming has stopped being a sporadic activity and become a way of life for many, the number and sorts of games available have exploded.  You can either try and keep up, or stop calling yourself a gamer, because you can be damn sure there’ll be plenty of people out there ready to tell you that you lack the gamer cred to even have an opinion unless gaming takes up a significant amount of your time.

But are companies like GW expecting too much from us?  I can see at least two ways of looking at this.

Yes, they are operating on an old-fashioned model from before the “gamer revolution”.  Modern gamers (most of whom, statistically, are adults) just don’t have the time to commit the amount of energy these games demand without exluding other games they want to play.  There are many other games with an equal, though different measure of depth and player satisfaction that don’t expect anything like the creative energy and sheer monetary cost.  Video games for example, as Fulgrim discusses here on Tears of Istvaan.  GW and companies like them need to adapt or die.

No.  Games Workshop games and other mixed-scale miniature games are for kids.  The company is assuming you are obsessive, play only their game, and have plenty of free time because you are a kid: You aren’t out drinking, or working overtime, or at a party, or playing another game because it’s better suited to pick up and play and you only have an hour.  The company only seems to be expecting too much because you’ve made the mistake of thinking that you, as an adult, can successfully balance the demands of their game with the rest of your life.  It’s not meant to be like that.  You’re meant to play Warhammer as a gateway to adult games.  That’s their niche, and the ridiculous scale and cost in time and money is the signal that sensible grown-ups shouldn’t be playing.

I don’t think it’s that easy to tell which (if either) of these is the right answer to the question.  I’m leaning towards no, I have to say.


WTF Gaming?

I normally try to limit myself to a post a week, but I had to share this.  Back in the heady days of the early 2000’s, I worked at the Australian War Memorial, a government run military museum, as an archive assistant.  It’s actually a great museum, one of the most awarded in the world.  My job was boring as hell though (apart from the day I found a Christmas card from Hitler taken from a dead German officer in one of the sorting boxes).

I was in my early 20’s and I spent much of my working day on the internet.  I may have been disciplined for excessive net usage on a couple of occasions . . .

Anyway in keeping with my two great gaming loves, 40k and D&D, I used to post constantly on Librarium Online (as robotnik) and the Paizo/Dragon magazine forum (as kahoolin).  I also used to read Something Awful constantly.

The other day I went and checked Something Awful after having forgotten about it for maybe three or four years.  I found a series of articles called WTF D&D?  The basic premise of these is Steve, an upbeat gamer who loves all things fantasy and sci-fi, and Zack, a guy who gamed as a kid but is now a hip, regular twenty/thirty-something, go back over old gaming manuals and riff on the concepts and artwork.

It is, if I may be so bold, fucking hilarious.  The best part is there are quite a few of them so there’s a good few hours of gaming humour there.  Here are a few you might particularly enjoy to get you started off:

Ah, gaming – if we can’t laugh at ourselves and the things we do, what have we got?


Adesha – Iybraesil Eldar Wraithlord

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The Wraithlord towered above the Eldar warriors as they scanned the abandoned settlement.  Even ancient Balora the Farseer had been born on Iybraesil and did not remember the primaeval, vibrant worlds of her people that had been destroyed in the Fall.  These Crone worlds were all that remained of that unknown past.  

The embodied hero who loomed against the chaotic sky was another matter entirely.  Her wraithbone body creaked softly in the eerie silence.  Adesha remembered, had wept in horror and psychic shock as the fledgling craftworlders saw the birth of She Who Thirsts from space.  She had fought as one of the Goddess’s warriors for countless ages, had led her people in war, and now had been summoned again.  The ancient wraithbone body had been grown for her a long time ago.  A receptacle for her shade, drawn from Iybraesil’s Infinity circuit.  She could feel the hot blood of the infinity rune painted on the face of her helm.  It was one of the only things she could feel.

The ghost in the machine concentrated, drawing the strands of herself from within the lattice of the wraithbone core to form a point of awareness.  Adesha would speak.

*Do you sense enemies yet, Farseer?  My thoughts grow thin.  If I am not needed I would return to the Goddess.*  Communication was a burden.  Combat was not.

Balora cocked her head as the papery voice of the revenant hero entered her mind.  The Wraithlord sounded flat, as one would imagine the dead would sound.

*Soon, Adesha.*  She returned silently.  *Soon the enemy will come.*

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This is Adesha, the first of two Wraithlords I have planned for my Iybraesil Eldar warhost.  She’s armed for anti-tank as there’s no other anti-tank capability in my 500 point army, and I thought it would probably still be a good configuration later.

I’ve wanted a Wraithlord model for years and I finally got one.  It’s more difficult to make it dynamically posed than I expected.  I thought the arms and legs would be in two parts each but they’re only one, so the poses straight out of the box are a bit on the Frankenstein side.  I looked at a bunch of anime mecha pictures to get a good sense of how an elegant humanoid machine should look, and then I added the scythe from the Empire Wizard kit to the shoulder and it really balanced the pose.  I’ve been trying to use that piece for ages!

The painting was fun.  Again, I went for an organic, aged look, and if you’ve ever seen old chipped animal skulls (I grew up in the country) then you’ll agree it turned out pretty well.

Overall they’re a great-looking model.  It looks sort of spidery and almost Tyranid-like I think, but also like a mecha, which is cool.

Next up I’m painting my Domaru Butai for Infinity.  Should be fun.  You gotta love a cyberpunk samurai.


Squats for Sale

I’m selling some Epic Squats on eBay at the moment, and I thought hey . . . I have a wargaming blog.  I can cross-promote.

The lot ends in a few days.  I want to cut down on my old stuff to make room for better organization, so some more old GW stuff and some historical and Privateer Press things will be going under the virtual hammer soon too.  I don’t feel good when I have too many objects around that I never use.

Hopefully these guys will go to a good home.  Squats get a bad rap these days for being silly, and I sometimes wonder why I liked them at all when I was a boy.  Sourcing this old Rogue Trader artwork has reminded me.  The Squats had a hard-headed, no-nonsense soldier-of-fortune vibe that the psychotic, brainwashed Space Marines and sacrificial Imperial Guard couldn’t match.

And everything was silly back then – the Orks are just as dumb and childish an idea as the Squats thank you very much.  Rogue Trader was a product of its time.  The modern grimdark 40k universe that people applaud so much for its depth is going to look pretty silly itself in twenty years, I guarantee.

So yeah, check out my auction if you like.  Unfortunately I used one of the exo-armoured guys as a banner-top for my Dwarfs in high school.  He’s the only thing missing from the original box.


Grown Man Cheats at 40k

Just a quick post today.  I heard about this a little while back from one of my regular opponents but forgot about it instantly (working nights does that to you).

I won’t mention names because it doesn’t matter really, but a couple of months back one of the top 40k players in Australia was caught cheating at a tournament, using loaded dice.  They were dice filled with mercury on one face and required a special way of rolling to take advantage of the loading, so even if another player rolled them it wouldn’t be obvious they were loaded.  According to the info on the Wargamerau forum, this player confessed to using them in other tournaments, as well as friendly games(!).  The other top players are pretty angry, as you can imagine.  They’ve played and hung out with this guy at tournaments for years.

He then went on to enter Golden Daemon under an assumed name with miniatures painted by a commissioned Polish artist.  He won several trophies before the artist recognized his own work and uncovered the deception.  GW is “investigating.”

A few weeks back Bell of Lost Souls reported on match-fixing to get into ‘Ard Boyz.  The thing that struck me about this was that the response of one of the cheaters when he was confronted was “that’s ‘Ard Boyz bro.”

Competitive players like to distance themselves from cheating by making a big deal of the whole competitive-versus-WAAC dichotomy.  But the fact is that the more valuable victory in an event is (and by valuable I don’t just mean prizes – pride and respect are values too), the greater the temptation to cheat will become for people with, shall we say, “undeveloped morals.”

Eventually you get to the level of respect and prize-money in professional sports, and then even people with strong morals and a good attitude will be tempted and may falter.

I’m not saying a competitive attitude to gaming leads automatically to cheating.  But you can’t have one without the other.

In conclusion though, a grown man habitually cheating at Warhammer? Seriously, that’s pathetic.  At least have the ambition and balls to cheat at something important.


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