Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whole Lot of Chaos

I've been playing around with more and more Chaos Space Marine army lists and, with my thoughts recently on the Ard Boyz tournament, I found myself earlier tonight putting together a 2500 point army list of my own. I am not trying to suggest, however, that I am designing this with the idea of being able to take on Darkwynn's champion army, nor do I even think it would be a particularly competitive list either... if I managed to win a single game I would be satisfied with having at least matched my performance at the Grand Tournament in 2004. I just thought I would share the 2500 point army list that I came up with based upon my current Chaos Marine collection with some future purchases included as well.

Chaos Space Marine Lord (155) Mark of Khorne, pair of lightning claws, meltabombs, jump pack.

Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer (140) Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission, terminator armour.

5 Chaos Terminators (210) Power fist, chain fist, 2 combi weapons, Reaper autocannon.

5 Chaos Possessed (130)
Chaos Rhino (35)

10 Chaos Space Marines (250) Icon of Khorne, meltagun, flamer, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol and power fist.
Chaos Rhino (35)

10 Chaos Space Marines (240) Icon of Chaos Glory, 2 plasma guns, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol, power weapon and meltabombs.
Chaos Rhino (35)

10 Chaos Space Marines (225) Icon of Chaos Glory, flamer, heavy bolter, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol, power weapon and meltabombs.
Chaos Rhino (50) Havoc launcher.

10 Summoned Lesser Daemons (130)

10 Summoned Lesser Daemons (130)

5 Chaos Bikers (215) Meltagun, Biker Champion with power fist.

2 Chaos Spawn (80)

Chaos Predator (165) Twin-linked lascannon, lascannon sponsons.

Chaos Vindicator (125)

Chaos Defiler (150)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bringing Back the Pack

The return of the Space Wolves is almost upon us, due to be released in only a matter of days now. From what I've seen they look to be an interesting army and I'm sure the new Codex will serve the Viking Pups quite well. I'm trying not to give in to the knee-jerk reflex of suspecting every new army of being dangerously over-powered compared to the other armies available. I'm therefore going to hold off on making any comments regarding their actual rules within the game until I have gotten a chance to read through the Codex myself. What I will say though, having seen the new miniature for Canis Wolfborn, is that the idea of Space Marines riding around on big wolves, even 'monstrous' ones, is a bit silly. Even if the wolf's spine were not crushed under the weight of the Marine's power armour, I just cannot imagine it being able to move about in such a way as to be at all useful in anything remotely approaching combat in the 41st millenium. Maybe just as a unique special character such a thing would not bother me so much, but apparently Space Wolves will be able to field complete units of these bizarre cavalry which to me pushes the limits of absurdity. Can you imagine what Games Workshop would come up with were they to do a full Codex for the Space Sharks?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ard Boyz 09

This year's North American Ard Boyz tournament concluded last weekend with a member of the Bell of Lost Souls community winning first place overall. It has therefore been a nice treat to be able to look over the player's champion army list which he graciously posted online. He is also in the process of writing battle reports for his games from the final round. I appreciate getting this insight into an area of 40k of which I am unaccustomed but still curious, espeically coming from the perspective of someone who is obviously very successful in competitive gaming.

Reviewing the army used by Darkwynn made it much more clear to me how far removed I am from the no-holds-barred atmosphere of tournament competition. Maybe it's just that I am not nearly as familiar with the new edition of Imperial Guard but I doubt I would have ever come up with a similar list. I would like to study it a bit more because I still don't have a firm image in my mind of what his army would look like both on the table and even just on display. The idea of keeping so much in reserve is a new concept for me although it does seem to be a lot more common in the latest version of 40k. I also don't understand some of the tactics described by Darkwynn, such as his usage of empty transports, but I've got enough to go on to test them out myself in hopes of figuring out how they work.

What really blows my mind though is the fact that none of the eventual Ard Boyz champion's final six games lasted more than an hour. What?!? Considering that each player was using 2500 point armies, this is to me a truly amazing feat of wargaming might. My hat's off to the man but I don't even know how much fun that could be for the victor were it not for the competitive context. Outside of my attendance at one Grand Tournament, virtually all of my games are played in a very friendly atmosphere and it has been common in the past for even small battles to take up the better part of an afternoon. One of my goals however is to get some more experience outside of my comfort zone. To this end I am grateful for places like BoLS where I can get some exposure to the more ruthless side of 40k and hopefully get a sense of what I could be in for should I happen to walk into a gaming store for some pick-up games. Right now though the thought of that strikes fear into me... ugh, game store kids! NOOOOOOO!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Old Ground

Once again working on Chaos Marines feels like a very familiar exercise to me and hopefully I think they will be a good way for me to get back into 40k. It's actually kind of funny for me to be doing the prep-work for a new Chaos army just as I had done at least eight or nine years ago... definitely it's an interesting way for me to compare the times and what has gone on in the interum. Besides any nostalgia I might feel for them, starting up with Chaos makes sense to me as I believe I am familiar with the army and how it should work (or at least previous editions of Chaos), plus I know for certain what paint scheme I am going to use. It's been really frustrating to still not be painting miniatures for the simple reason of not being able to make up my mind as to what colors to use. But with these Chaos Marines I know for certain that they will be done up in the colors of the Black Legion. Even though I've so far only assembled two Chaos Maines, the pair includes an Aspiring Champion with the metal Black Legion shoulder pad already glued into place so there is no going back on that decision. I am now committed, and I think it is a good thing if I ever hope to have a new army painted for 5th edition. Along with my assembled Chaos Lord I feel like I'm off to a good start. I plan on painting these units as I finish putting them together so hopefully it won't be too long before I can report on some actual painting progress too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fluff for the Stonecutters

Fonsager, homeworld of the Stonecutters, was originally a civilized and well-populated Agri world until suffering a series of devastating failures with the planet's numerous nuclear power facilities. The surviving populations were consolidated into a pair of hive cities and put to work producing the weapons and equipment needed by their Space Marine overlords. Meanwhile the Stonecutters had been forced by this planetary catastrophe to move their Chapter fortress to Fonsager's moon, Hertagha. Due to the intensity of radiation still prevelant on Fonsager, mutation is sadly much more common than on most Imperial worlds and the Stonecutters are rarely able to locate suitable new recruits from the planet's population. The Stonecutters therefore select their Initiates from peoples throughout the Imperium, often testing and screening potential candidates from pacified warzones before moving on. Those who pass are sent back to the chapter fortress to begin the process of becoming a Space Marine and where they will eventually be inducted into the Tenth Company, thus becoming an Initiate Brethren of the Stonecutters. For the sake of convenience the Stonecutters also routinely search their neighboring systems for recruits as traveling through the warp from distant warzones is rarely a simple affair.

The tragedy that befell Fonsager occured just shortly after the founding of the Stonecutters and the establishment of the planet as their Homeworld. In recognition of the disastrous turn of events on their once beautiful world, the Stonecutters abandoned their original heraldic colors and switched to the dark reds seen worn by them today. In remembrance of their early history, it has become custom for those exceptionally rare Brother Marines drawn from Fonsager's native population to paint their power armour in the chapter's initial colors, but otherwise devoid of chapter insignia or squad markings. In accordance with an edict issued by the first Chief Librarian of the Stonecutters, no more than one such Marine may ever be assigned to each Company at any one time. As a practical matter, however, this has never been a problem due to the low percentage of recruits from Fonsager, typically occuring with a rate of less than one per one hundred Initiates that survive to become Battle Brothers of the Chapter. The Scouts of the Tenth Company are never given this honor regardless of their ancestry or parentage, as it believed that the Initiates must first prove themselves worthy of even wearing a suit of sacred power armour. Great things are expected of those Brother Marines who wear these ancient colors and the induction of such a Marine into one of the Battle Companies is a solemn and portentious occasion laden with much ritual, fasting, and meditation.

Since its successful conversion into an industrial hive world, Fonsager is still able to serve the Stonecutters with the output of its manufactorums and weapon forges. The harsh environment that covers the majority of the planet's surface also provides to the Chapter's recruits excellent conditions for survival training, as well as the opportunity to engage in some dangerous combat exercises. There still lives amongst the ruins of Fonsager's old cities significant populations of the heavily mutated descendants of those who were exposed to the worst effects of the nuclear calamity but somehow managed to survive. These unfortunate people were subsequently deemed to be too high risk to be brought into the newly formed hive cities, instead being simply left to live and die in the shattered remains of their previous existence. What has survived to the present day, and in some areas even flourished, is a horribly gruesome race of degenerate cannibals known as the Ghestrani against whom Stonecutter recruits are frequently tested. Were it not for their value as opponents for these young Marines, it is likely that they would have been exterminated entirely by agents of the Imperial Inquisition who remain understandably wary of allowing these abominations any space within the Emperor's realm.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mercurial Orbits

The planet Mercury has been in the retrograde portion of its orbit for a period of time now, I believe for the majority of this month in fact. This has of course been causing all sorts of astrological tumult and wreaking havoc upon the lives of us mortals here on Earth. I suppose in my own life there has been a certain degree of disharmony but overall I'm still hanging in there alright. But so as to not push our cosmic good fortunes, my wife and I are going to be laying low for the remainder of this portion of Mercury's celestial path. We plan on just working around the house and not signing onto anything significant.

I find it interesting that in this particular time of chaos I should of course become serious again about collecting Chaos Marines. Seems kind of appropriate, no? I've decided to go ahead and theme my Chaos force as a Black Legion warband operating on its own, far away from the Eye of Terror (and thus there will be no Abaddon in my army). As mentioned before, I am usually reluctant to choose an army with a lot of established background and fluff as I like to have as much space as possible in creating a setting for my games. But in this case the color scheme works for me as I fancy having a try at painting black power armour, and the history of the Traitor Legions allows for quite a bit of latitude in devising my own niche in their more than 10,000 year existence. I'm also keen to make use of the metal Black Legion shoulder pads on as many figures as I can and have tailored my lists somewhat with that in mind. I have now worked out a 1500 point list with which I am happy and will begin placing orders for the miniatures tomorrow. Finally I am also considering revising my initial 500 point list to be more mobile as I am leaning toward using a mostly mechanized force so as to represent a marauding Chaos Space Marine raiding party. What follows is my possible new starter list:

Chaos Space Marine Lord (125) Plasma pistol, power weapon, meltabombs.

9 Chaos Space Marines (200) Meltagun, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol and power fist.

Chaos Rhino (35)

5 Chaos Space Marines (90) Plasma gun.

Chaos Rhino (50) Havoc launcher.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chaos Rising

Gav Thorpe has been taking a lot of flak over the last couple of years regarding his work on the current edition of the Codex: Chaos Space Marines, to which he has responded in a posting on his own blog Mechanical Hamster. Chaos Marines were the first 40k army that I seriously collected and painted after graduating from college and they even accompanied me to my one Grand Tournament in 2004 as a DIY chapter of renegade Chaos Marines. I later collected a fully converted Death Guard army complete with all the Forgeworld goodness not too long before the latest Codex was released. Once I saw how much of my Death Guard stuff was invalidated, as well as all of the Daemonic elements of my Chaos Renegades and most of the organization of the squads too, I lost all of my enthusiasm for Chaos Marines and indeed for 40k in general. However, after reading about all of the criticisms heaped upon Mr. Thorpe and his attempted to respond, I have now decided to collect yet another Chaos Space Marines army. My goal is to collect a Chaos army specifically for the current Codex rather than trying to adapt one of my pre-existing armies to suit the new list. I could reuse many of the figures from my old Tournament army but I would rather start fresh, especially since people were always mistaking them for either Word Bearers or World Eaters. Plus I still plan on painting my loyalists Marines in red so I would prefer to not have my Chaos Marines with such a similar color selection.

I've worked out army lists going from 500 points up to 2000 points so as to help guide me in making useful purchases, although I need to check the warehouse to see just what Chaos stuff I have left over. After spending some time studying the Codex I quickly remembered why I initially did not like it so much as to abandon the game for a time with this book at least partially to blame. I was really excited about the plastic Chaos Terminators finally coming out but all the changes made to Chaos took me by surprise and that was it for the spikey ones. Now that I've come back to look at the Codex with the new attitude and a much more open mind, I still miss the old style of Chaos armies but I can appreciate the new style for its own merits. It seems that Chaos has been purged of much of its most characteristic features from the last few iterations and building an army list is now a rather simple matter. It's unfortunate that the HQ units have so few equipment options and I really miss the customization offered by the old Chaos Gifts which are completely gone. Otherwise I think it is a fairly strong army Codex, although having Possessed Marines determine their ability after deployment instead of before deployment is really annoying. I also now understand why players are frustrated with the psychic power Lash of Submission, but I still plan on using it in my 2000 point army. At least that is one thing that I can easily change to another power once it becomes too abusive to still be fun.

As soon as I can I'll check through my Chaos collection and bits to see what I have ready for assembly. I think I have all that I'll need for my first 500 points although I may be short one Rhino. Of course I also need to settle on how I plan on painting these guys but I certainly still have time to consider that. Right now I'm leaning toward Black Legion for the sake of simplicity, although I would be happy to go with another Renegade chapter if a better color scheme comes to mind. Here then is my inital 500 point list on which I plan on collecting:

Chaos Space Marine Lord (125) Plasma pistol, power weapon, meltabombs

9 Chaos Space Marines (200) Meltagun, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol and power fist

Chaos Rhino (35)

5 Chaos Space Marines (140) Plasma gun, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol, power weapon, and meltabombs

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Welcome Back NFL!

It's so great to be watching football again. I've enjoyed the last few weeks of preseason games and the return of college football, but I'm a fan especially of the NFL so tonight is particularly exciting for me. Football, woot woot!! I mainly cheer for Tampa and Buffalo but really I'm a fan of the league itself.

Even though I haven't done any writing for a while I have kept myself busy assembling more 40k ruins and buildings. I now have finished seven structures, one of which being approximately twice the size of the others whilst another still needing a couple of extra little pieces to be truly complete. I've learned that putting together intact buildings a considerably more challenging to do than the equivalent amount of ruins, and thus also requiring more time. I've spent a lot of time filing and shaving floor sections so as to make them fit properly, something which I have not had to do much with ruined buildings. Considering what's also been going on around the house this past week I am quite satisfied with what I've accomplished.

The game I had scheduled to play last weekend never occured, again due to unforeseen circumstances and the surprise visit of my brother-in-law. I don't know when we'll be able to get in a game but I'm going to keep preparing just in case such an opportunity comes along. Meanwhile I have finished reading through the 5th edition rules and feel like a have a good enough grasp of them to begin playing, although I would still prefer to wet my feet with some smaller point-level games. My general impresssion is that I like the new rules as I can see where they should help streamline the actual play of the game. If the new edition makes for a better experience and more enjoyable games, then I tip my cap to the designers and writers. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Space Hulk

My copy of Games Workshop's sort-of-new Space Hulk arrived yesterday but I did not get around to looking at it until today. Wow, that box is heavy! It's really weird for me to buy the 20th anniversary version of a game when I still own the original and remember it quite well. What's particularly unusual is that both of these editions of the game apparently use essentially the same rules system and mechanics. So even though the components are all new, I don't think I am as excited as I would be for a totally new product, although I am certainly still quite jazzed about it... I in fact even pre-ordered two copies of the game!

The new miniatures for Space Hulk look amazing and are easily the best snap-together models I've ever seen. My complaint about them is that they're not really designed to be used in regular games of 40k and I would very much have appreciated that extra interchangability between systems. I know for sure there will be those who either just stick the minis onto normal 40k bases and not care about how well they fit, or alternatively at least do some conversion work to make them fit a little better. I assume that making the Termies and Stealers this way was done to protect the sales of the existing 40k models of those types, and this strikes me as another example of GW's sometimes seemingly uncaring regard toward their customers.

Hopefully sometime soon I'll actually get a chance to play Space Hulk and I'll be sure to report on it. But for now, keep watching the skies!