Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Goblins Need Love

When it comes to WHFB Orcs and Goblins, regular old Goblins are the middle child.  The one who always claimed "Mom liked you best!" of the other units in the army.

They have no Night Goblin trickery, like netters or fanatics. They have no squig herds or squig mounts.  They don't hate Dwarfs.
They have no poisoned mounts or wall-walking, like forest goblins.
They have no T4, tusker charge boar mounts and chariots, no choppas, no warpaint ward saves and no super-armed shock troops like Orcs do.

They are just.... goblins.  The basic troop model doesn't even have the option for a hand weapon on the sprue, so you have to convert them to get the 6+ ward save in cc.  Sure they have wolves and wolf chariots, but they are completely mundane.  They have war machines, but these are the basic ones from the rulebook (except for the Doom Diver of course.)  What role do goblins actually fill in an O&G army?  What are they good at that there aren't already multiple options for?

Let's take Skaven as our comparison, another horde army.  Skaven basic troops are clanrats, skavenslaves, stormvermin.  I'll leave off giant rats and night runners, since they are quite a bit different.  The three troops I mentioned each have their specific rules and strengths.  Slaves are amazingly cheap, pop when they break from combat, and you can shoot at an enemy in combat with them.  Clanrats are basic and fairly cheap but you can attach a weapon team to them, or hide an assassin in them.  Stormvermin are very similar to clanrats except they have better gear, a better initiative and weapon skill, can take a magic banner, and a unit of them can be boosted with a special character.  Each unit has something special about them, something that can make them more useful.  Goblins do not.  They have hand weapons, spears or short bows.  They might have shields.  They might have command.  That's it.

I have to admit, I have a thing for armies that don't include their best basic units.  My Witch-Hunters army includes no Sororitas at all, and I'm building an army of all mounted goblins and discovering that there are exactly zero surprises in the army except for the die-rolls.  Even the wolf riders and chariots don't have very much killing power, and now you need minimum 10 riders alive at the end of combat just to disrupt, so forget MSU gangs.  Maybe the next army book will make their place in the O&G army more defined.

So here's my petition to GW: please give goblins something night goblins do not have, other than just light armor.  Maybe a unit upgrade of a goblin big boss (as opposed to the current "boss" unit champion) that doesn't count against the hero points (perhaps with a lowered magic item point limit too.)  Something.  Anything.  Please.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Making Terrain ... with Fire!

My wife and I tried a little terrain making using cheap styrofoam and a blow torch. The result was interesting, but not exactly what I had hoped.

All the same, I got to play with fire.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Skaven Models!

From the GW email newsletter:
In January 2011, following the epic release of The Island of Blood, the Skaven will be receiving reinforcements, including new models - visit the website tomorrow for more information from the Studio. And with these new additions gathering on the horizon, there is no better time to start up or expand your very own Skaven army
Yes!  I'm really interested in seeing what new models are released.  The Night Runners are clearly a candidate, as they are similar to the last edition of clan rat.  I'd love to see a better Thanquol model too.  What I'd really like to see, beyond all reasonable hope, is a box of giant rats and packmasters.  Currently the only way to get 18 points of giant rats is to buy them with 80 points of rat ogres in a $40 box.  I was personally hoping that the new rulebook would give rat ogres/giant rats a mixed unit rule like kroxigors/skinks get based on the way they are sold, but hey.... no biggie.  So, like I said, if you want to field any reasonable number of giant rats you are forced to buy a lot of $40 boxes, even if you use all the other smallish rats that come with plague monks, doomwheel, etc.

So what other Skaven units are old..... gutter runners?  I still like those.  The warlord?  Yeah, I'd love to see a multi-option warlord box.  Same with warlock engineer.  And, oh!  Plague priest!  I'd love to see a good model for him!  I guess I'll just wait for tomorrow and see what's in store.

In the words of the immortal General Vorg... Squeeks!

EDIT:  Apparently the "more information" on the web site is that we can look forward to more information.  Oh, well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

While playing with magnets at work.....

Paul: As they (the magnet groups) gain mass they become more attractive.

Matt: Yeah, that doesn't really work in real life.

SpecOps Killzone Orks WIP 1

I'm digging through the Orks to find models to fit my Special Operations Group (SOG) for SpecOps Killzone.  The two big shoota boyz I had painted a few years ago for a "Paint Assault On Black Reach in a Month" painting competition (which I lost... other examples of the losing models here, here and here.)  The Nobs are all converted from WHFB Black Orcs, combined with some old metal Nob parts and things I made sure to bitz order before GW shut down the bitz orders, like the Dok Bosspole thingy.  The 'urty syringes are scratch built from miscellaneous bits and brass rod.

I did some browbeating tonight to the gang to get them to play, and even sent one of them home with a printed copy of the rules.  Hopefully.......

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time To Evacuate The Earth

I've been having a lot of fun reading the Earth Evacuation Blog.  It's basically a collection of news stories and theories about how the Large Hadron Collider will destroy our planet through generation of minuscule black holes.  It may be a little crazy, but it's not timecube crazy.

For introduction, this page has some "key posts" that help a new reader get up to speed.

BTW, I am firmly against destroying the earth, since this is where I keep most of my stuff.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SpecOps Killzone Orks

I am very interested in playing SpecOps Killzone, and will be trying to convince my local group to try it out.  The low model count might actually get some people into the game who otherwise are reluctant because of the steep entry cost of a normal 40k army.  I may even donate some AoBR Marines or Orks and miscellaneous bits to help someone start.  There is also a forum dedicated to the rules.

So here is the first 175 pt list I'm planning on trying out.

Lugruk's RuffBoyz (174 pts)

Lugruk, Nob w/ 'eavy armor, power klaw, slugga (50 pts)
Skabgut, Nob w/ 'eavy armor, choppa, slugga (25 pts)
Gobstik, Nob Painboy w/ 'eavy armor (55 pts)
Skumbad, 'ard Boy w/ shoota, close combat accesssories (11 pts)
Durthug, 'ard Boy w/ Big Shoota  (15 pts)
Skarslag, 'ard Boy w/ Big Shoota, targeter (18 pts)

The goal is to have a hard close combat core, boosted by the FNP conferred by the painboy, and a shooting group laying down S5 firepower (albeit at a less than impressive BS2.)  Skumbad will stick with the combat group, looking for opportunity shots.  The force has a consistent 4+ save and a total of 9 wounds, 7 of which will have FNP conferred.  The combat core can assault with 9 S5, 4 S4 and 4 S9 attacks if everyone gets in base contact, so I'm hoping that will wipe out anything they get near.  I haven't really looked at the scenarios much, so this may change if I see the need to adapt to a list that makes more sense for them.

I Must Not Be Smart Enough To Understand Socialism

A pleasant young lady handed me a flyer advertising a public meeting tomorrow night entitled "The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism."  It was surreal enough in its text, that I present it as delivered.  Color emphasis is mine.

Public Meeting sponsored by the International Students for Social Equality
The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism
The world capitalist system is ensnared in its greatest crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The financial turmoil that began two years ago with the sudden failure of Wall Street icons has metastasized into a global economic breakdown.
The Obama administration's claim that it has "broken the back" of the recession is a self-serving lie, told by cynical politicians who are convinced that the people can be made to believe anything.  Tens of millions of people are unemployed, and millions have been thrown out of their homes.  Public schools and universities are cutting tens of thousands of jobs and reducing admissions.   State and local governments are responding with mass layoffs, pay cuts and the elimination of basic social programs.
The corporations and wealthy, led by the Obama administration, have used the economic crisis to increase their wealth, seizing on high unemployment to lower wages and increase profits.
In the aftermath of the 1929 collapse on Wall Street, the government and the press repeated endlessly the refrain: "Prosperity is just around the corner."  But the depression that began with the stock market crash and then spread throughout the world lasted more than a decade and led to unprecedented suffering and destruction.
A new warning must be raised with all necessary urgency.  The present crisis will not simply go away.  There is no peaceful, let alone easy, way out of the economic and social impasse into which capitalism has led mankind.  Join us for a series of meetings to discuss the socialist program and the political strategy for building a working class movement against capitalism.

So, let me get this straight.  An economic crisis leads to higher profit?  That must be why so many new businesses have opened or existing businesses expanded during the current economic situation, creating so many jobs.  And the concept that high supply and lower demand for workers led to a lower wage clearly has nothing to do with basic economic truths and everything to do with greed.  And Obama, as a consistent voice for expanded and extended social programs, is clearly the ringleader of the corporations and the wealthy.  Also, schools and universities are apparently turning students away in reaction to the tens of thousands of job cuts they have made.  Clearly peaceful methods of reversing this trend is impossible and the time for violent uprising is at hand.

Look, I've never won the Nobel prize in anything but this is highly counterintuitive to me.  We can't even afford what we're providing for people right now (and still wouldn't be able to, even if the wars stop tomorrow.)  The idea that providing more services, requiring more government revenue, taking that revenue from businesses, causing the businesses to employ fewer people, causing more people to be in demand of social services, causing prosperity just does not add up for me.

Sadly, I will not be able to attend the public forum.  Does somebody with a mightier brain than I care to explain any of this to me, especially the "reducing admissions" part?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Moment To Remember

I stayed up to watch the first of the Chilean miners arrive safely on the surface after two months underground.

How can you not tear up at a moment like that?

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Gaming Table's Innaugural Match

Thursday saw the first game played on my home-made gaming table.  For about $50 in supplies and a little experimentation it turned out pretty nice.

The first battle was 1000 points Skaven vs. Seth's Warriors of Chaos.  Having never played more than 500 points vs. Chaos (and it was Hordes of  Chaos back then) I certainly had an idea how dangerous they can be.  What surprised me wat the one squad of 12 warriors with the Mark of Tzeentch ended up nearly unstoppable, taking only one wound the entire game from, of all things, a slave unit popping.  Winning entire combats on "static combat res" doesn't quite cut it against these guys.

Deployment certainly reminded me that I hadn't played in a while, as I made the rookie error of deploying my general on the opposite side of the board from my main blocks of clanrats and slaves.  Even when steadfast, slaves hold up a lot better at Ld7+ranks than they do at Ld2+ranks.  The Warlord general (on bonebreaker) ended up on the opposite side in a unit of rat ogres with a single block of slaves.

My only caster was a Warlock Engineer, lvl 2, who had the misfortune of rolling skitterleap for his 2nd spell.  I was really hoping for something more ... destructive.  Anyway, with the number of dispel dice my opponent had to throw most turns it was nearly impossible to get a spell off, and I only got warp lightning off once, after skitterleaping over next to the chaos knights.  This was the single 40k vs. fantasy moment, as Seth was perplexed by the fact that he couldn't attack the engineer with the knights that were 3" from him.  He had his revenge by reforming a unit of warhounds and making an epically long charge to hit the engineer.

So on that far side of the tables where the two generals (mounted chaos sorcerer and bonebreaker mounted warlord) faced off, the slaves made the shortest charge in Skaven history.... 7 inches.  They were charged in turn by the warhounds, who popped them and restrained pursuit.  They then fled when charged by the warlord's unit, leaving the warlord flapping in the breeze to be charged by the chaos knights, the sorcerer and the other unit of warhounds (fresh off wiping out my engineer.)

In the middle of the table, things weren't going much better for me.  A unit of warriors with 2 hand weapons is a force to be reckoned with when you are WS3 T3.  Choppity choppity chop.  A few attacks back, a wound or two, saved by the 5+/5+ combo and he wins by an awful lot.  The marauders were a fairly even match, but those warriors!  It really made me wish I had brought a warpfire thrower or a few globadiers or something
So I left 70 rats hanging in the breeze while the warlord rode his Moulder toy to his own demise.

Next time, I think I'll remember what makes Skaven a force to be respected.


Friday, October 08, 2010

A Subtle Reminder of My Own Cowardice

A coworker just wandered by.....

"I just talked to Bill," he said.  "He ascended that wizard he'd had for ages."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah.  Don't you have a Tourist right on the verge of ascending?"

(ashamed) "Yes..... I'm just too scared to continue."

And so, I present this post: My Unassailable Cowardice  If you've ever played a Tourist in Nethack, perhaps you understand.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

1000 points of Skaven for Intro Game

I'm rethinking my choices for the intro game.  The prior list had a lot of destructive power to it in the form of magic and Skryre craziness.  I think I'm going to reshape the list into something a little more ... mundane.

Warlord on Rat Ogre Bonebreaker, shield @ 151
Warlock Engineer, lvl 2, Warp Energy Condenser, Foul Pendant @ 150
25 Clanrats w/ full command, shield @ 133
25 Clanrats w/ full command, shield @ 133
25 Clanrats w/ full command, shield, spears @ 145
20 Skavenslaves w/ musician @ 42
20 Skavenslaves w/ musician @ 42
20 Skavenslaves w/ musician @ 42
3 Rat Ogres, inc. Master-bred and 2 packmasters @ 158
995 points, 142 bases

Again, the goal is a fun intro game.  I have no interest in utterly destroying in someone's first game.  With this list it will be much more a test of numbers vs. super-chaos-choppity.  The Foul Pendant is more to protect the engineer from himself than anything else.  I lose more engineers to my own Warp Lightning than to the enemy.

Another fellow may be bringing 1k of ... something.  Not sure yet.  Lizardmen?  Vampire Counts?  He has an army of Lizardmen that he has converted to look undead that he plans on playing as either, so we'll see what (if anything) he brings along.

Tonight, light! Tomorrow, game!

I went to Lowe's on my lunch hour today to purchase a 4' fluorescent strip for my basement gaming area.  I picked up a couple daylight quality bulbs for it, so I should have some awe-inspiring light in that room.  The entire purchase was <$30.  The table has a short edge pushed against the wall, so I'll be mounting this light on a ceiling joist directly above the table, centering the 4' light on the 6' table as much as possible.  I also plan to hook up the light to my existing wiring so that one switch controls this new fixture and the existing fluorescent bulb on the other side of the room together.

Gaming at my house has begun.

Now I need to buy some free standing shelves to hold terrain pieces.  Not that I actually have many terrain pieces, but it will be nice to have someplace to put them once I have them.  Until that time I will be playing with proxy terrain.  Cereal box hills.  Pringles can towers.  Paper cut out forests.  Epic stuff.

Expect pictures from tomorrow's big inaugural game.  Skaven vs. Warriors of Chaos.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Intro Game vs. Warriors of Chaos

We are going to do an intro game of Warhammer Fantasy during the Thursday night hobby session, a first for the group.  Seth will be pitting his Warriors of Chaos against my Skaven in a 1000 point game.  Seth basically has a WoC battalion + a mounted lord that he's running as an exalted hero, and I am lending him a chaos sorcerer.  The battalion is basically 12 chaos warriors, 10 warhounds, 20 marauders and 5 chaos knights.  I am considering the following list:

1000 Pts - Skaven Roster

Grey Seer (1#, 240 pts)
   1 Grey Seer @ 240 pts (General; Hand Weapon)

Warlock Engineer (1#, 93 pts)
   1 Warlock Engineer @ 93 pts (Level 1 Wizard; Hand Weapon)
      1 Warplock Pistol
      1 Warp-Energy Condenser

Clanrats (77#, 475 pts)
   24 Clanrats @ 210 pts (Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Spear; Light Armour; Shield)
      1 Clawleader (Hand Weapon; Spear; Light Armour; Shield)
      1 Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapon Team (Poisoned Wind Mortar; Hand Weapon; Heavy Armour)
   24 Clanrats @ 133 pts (Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)
      1 Clawleader (Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)
   24 Clanrats @ 133 pts (Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)
      1 Clawleader (Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)

Warp-Lightning Cannon (1#, 90 pts)
   1 Warp-Lightning Cannon @ 90 pts
      1 Engineer & Crew

Warplock Jezzails (5#, 100 pts)
   5 Warplock Jezzails @ 100 pts (Hand Weapon; Warplock Jezzail)

Total Roster Cost: 998

I don't have a lot of experience with WoC.  Is this list going to roll him badly?  With so few models I am afraid the war machines will decimate him, something I don't want to do in a starter game.  I also know that those warrior and knight blocks will eat clanrats like The King of Town at a chinese buffet.  Any thoughts, readers?  Is there balance, or would you play something different?  Drop the cannon or the engineer and play some slaves perhaps?

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Unlikely Mural

Wednesday I acted as representative for a friend at his parole interview.  Not in any lawyerly way, just as a friend giving a personal statement.  Those of us representin' were placed in the visitation room until it was our turn to go before the interviewer.  The room was empty but for the three of us.  The visitation room was groups of spartan looking chairs, some facing each other and others arranged so that they all faced the same way, like a classroom or a movie theater.  There was a podium at one end of the room, but the chairs that were arranged for such a thing did not face the podium.  Along one way was a series of vending machines, including one of those rotating sandwich machines that my friend called "The Wheel of Death."  The Pepsi vending machine repeatedly commanded me to ENJOY A REFRESHING DRINK on its little LED blinking screen.  If I was an inmate without quarters I would probably find that galling.

The strangest thing was the mural at one end of the room.  It was a scene of various Hanna Barbera characters engaged in a sack race, Top Cat, Astro from the Jetsons and Muttley, if memory serves me correctly.  Meanwhile Fred Flintstone played some sort of a guitar while Yogi and Boo Boo sat on a log eating from a pic-i-nic basket.  Pebbles and Bam Bam were seated on a see-saw made from a log and a rock.  The whole picture was arranged top to bottom, with the mural cut roughly in half by the horizon, and the path that the sack racers were taking going from horizon to bottom of mural.  The non-racers were situated to either side.  What really made the thing surreal were the overly realistic landscape elements in the mural.  Trees lined the path that could have come out of any Bob Ross painting, and mountains stretched up in the background.  The mountains were huge and steep, pointed crags that were forbidding enough to be the quest goal of any good fantasy novel.  They lacked snow but were painted with enough skill to see that the lighting was coming from about 45 degrees from the left of the mural.  The realistic trees and the Mountains of Pointy Doom were a jarring contrast to the happy cartoon antics happening below that horizon line.

I wish I could have taken a picture, but it turns out you can't bring your camera phone into a state correctional facility.