Friday, 19 May 2017

Narrative Play - Faction In-Fighting


Despite there being a sizeable number of armies (we could say codexes) in 40K a lot of the time we find that our armies are facing what should be allied forces. The nature of the game simply assumes that we play and have fun. Nothing wrong with that but a lot of the time for those of us who like a narrative game it can be confusing as to why these armies are bashing heads, so I'm going to take a look at the potential reasons why they might.

Imperium.
As half the game is made up of Imperial armies it can be very frustrating to see two of them matched. There is so many games where you can call "war games" and I'm not even sure the Imperium plays such war games when they have real wars to hone their combat skills. Likewise, if we're playing our chosen Imperial faction you can't say that one side or the other has turned traitor. I know I didn't like that when it came up when I was playing loyalist space marines.

For space marines do we have history of them fighting each other and I don't mean the Horus Heresy. Some chapters have come to blows because of their combat doctrines or points of view (Marines Malevolent, for example). I still think it is unlikely that chapters would start opening fire upon one another just because of this but perhaps the old idea of the Inquisition orders them to could be used but I'd want one side to have an Inquisitorial element to make it work narratively. Again though, like the "war games" idea it happens too often for that excuse to be relevant all the time. There is always some sort of element you could use but I still find loyalist marine chapters fighting going beyond the fluff.

With Blood Angels and their successors you can use the blood rage as a reason for battle. Their Imperial opponent could well be a former now seen as the enemy by a force suddenly succumbing to the black rage. As the 41st millennium approaches it's end and night begins to fall over the Imperium of Man I can see this potentially happening more and more.

Dark Angels are another chapter that could easily go to war against an allied force. While I don't think that in the fluff they have ever openly attacked another Imperial force (prior to the Curse of the Wulfen storyline) I could certainly see it if the chapter felt that their former allies had learnt of the Fallen or even may have been holding one, that they might just decide to kill them and hide the bodies afterwards.

With Grey Knights even I can't think of anything outside of a war game training exercise. They don't turn traitor and there is no reason other than that for their forces to fight one another. They are, however, a perfect opponent for other Imperial forces. If they feel that the other has seen events that mankind (even space marines) should not know then they would have to eradicate them. The same can be said of the Sisters of Battle. If they feel that an Imperial force has been corrupted or turned against the Imperial faith I could see them take up arms in order to put down that heresy.

The Astra Militarum are perhaps the poor ones here. Although they are the majority of the Imperial military they are also somewhat caught in the middle. As I mentioned above I can certainly see many reasons why Grey Knights, Sisters and the Angels turning their guns upon the humble guard army. For the most part though I doubt it would happen but there is a kind of precedent. One of the Dawn of War games, Dark Crusade if I remember right, has a story line where a force of guardsmen are tasked with holding the remains of a downed Titan but this brings them into conflict with the Blood Ravens who see that the task belongs to them. The guard have their orders and aren't willing to relinquish control so the space marines open fire. An extreme example but one that you could use as an excuse as to why your Militarum forces are fighting Imperial allies.

Chaos.
Chaos needs no excuse to fight itself. Ancient rivalries between legions and war bands, or simply rivalries between gods. Even daemons would fight each other simply because their god commands it. I imagine such conflicts go on all the time within the Eye of Terror.

Craftworld Eldar.
We like to think that Craftworld Eldar like each other and work together but let's be honest they probably don't. So why would two different Craftworlds wage war upon one another? The simple answer is that they have competing goals. Perhaps the farseers of Ulthwe read the winds of fate and decide that something needs to be done to draw the Imperium to planet X before the Tyranids get here, but that twist of the threads might ensure that the great devourer passes within range of Craftworld Saim-Hann. I doubt Craftworlds have much diplomacy with one another and I doubt the cares of another Craftworld factor into things. Eldar will fight Eldar.

It may also depend on which Craftworld you play. With the time they spent trapped in the Eye of Terror perhaps another Craftworld feels that Altansar have become corrupted and must be destroyed.

Dark Eldar.
This is another easy one. Rival kabals and wytch cults will fight one another out of sheer rivalry. Perhaps one turned up to ravage an Imperial world only to find a rival there already. The perverse pleasure they may get from dragging their own kind back to the Dark City in chains as slaves or worse could certainly ensure this faction will fight against one another.

But...
Yes, Craftworld and Dark Eldar will fight one another perhaps as much as they occasionally ally. That goes without saying. What you might be pondering is what about the Ynnari? Well, for all the good they are doing for the Eldar race there are those who will be opposed to them. Asdrubael Vect, dark lord of Commorragh certainly hates the Ynnari and I'm sure that there are factions within the Craftworlds who may be opposed to them for one reason or another.

Necrons.
The Necrons are spread across a large number of dynasties and they, being separate "factions" if you will, will fight. They fight for territory whether reclaiming what was once theirs or pushing into a rival's in a grab for power. Perhaps an ancient dynasty never full awoke so various Necron Lord's descent upon it to take what resources they can and repatriate those sleeping warriors to their own cause.

Orks.
Orks are like Chaos, they will happily fight one another regardless of the reason. The Imperium has probably endured so long simply because Orks enjoy fighting each other over working together to conquer the galaxy. Find that rival warboss. Crush his skull and claim his boyz as your own and lead your Waaagh! to glory in the stars.

Tau Empire.
Outside of the conflict between the Tau Empire and the Farsight Enclave I have a tough time working out how this faction could have a inter-faction battle. Not unless you are willing to see a Tau civil war, although I tend to see that as the Tau / Farsight conflict anyway, so you could always use that. Not like anyone is going to know outside of yourself.  You could perhaps have a break-away group following the recent assassination of Aun'va which needs to be forcefully put down or re-integrated into the Greater Good.

Tyranids.
This is the one where quite frankly I have no idea. There is absolutely no way in my mind as to why two hive fleets would fight one another. They are the same controlling mind so it just would not happen. If one hive fleet was dying or too weak, it would happily just roll over to be devoured by another, ensuring all DNA and enhancements were given over to the hive mind. They just would not fight. Even genestealer cults would give up once their "gods" arrived.

However, saying that, many years ago I did run a campaign set on a world where ancient Eldar had hidden hundreds of thousands of trapped daemons deep under ground and I hade to include something to allow the possibility of multiple opponents of the same faction. As those daemons began to break the prisons it released a powerful psychic shriek which disrupted the telepathic communications of any hive fleets in the area forcing them to become separate from the hive mind. Multiple tyranids could then fight as rivals seeking to restore bio-matter in a sort of hive war.

So you can do it but you need to come up with something good to explain why two separate hive fleets would come together to fight one another.






Thursday, 18 May 2017

8th edition



I've been rather quiet on the recent daily 8th edition updates. I wanted to see how they came together before posting rather than doing a day to day review. But I'm sure you have all been keeping up to date on them anyway so I'm just going to share my thoughts,


I'm excited for 8th. I wouldn't have made such a sweeping change to the game mechanics especially considering that so many 40K players didn't want the system to go the same way as Age of Sigmar. But most of what has been posted am I pleased about and a few minor niggles that have had me sitting on the fence for a bit.


In general I am happy with the new rules and extremely pleased that at last vehicles may become a lot more survivable rather than be a temporary expensive gun box before exploding. Immediately that is a big yay from me. I'm hoping that what Games Workshop have said about everything being balanced and usable is true. At present there are plenty of units in each codex that never get a look in and few players seem to take named unique HQ's as the generic ones are better mechanically. I'm hoping that GW will fix that and everything gets a decent spot in the limelight.


The new detachments also got me very excited. 14 new detachments! I've always said that the game needs more generic detachments rather than being stuck with the Combined-Arms Detachment and the seige attacker/defender ones from Stronghold Assault. At last we may be truly able to make the list format we want rather than being forced into a HQ plus Troops and then everything else. Although it was interesting to note that the three detachments previews none of them had a slot for Lords of War.


What didn't sit well with me... Summoning (such as it is) has gone the way of Age of Sigmar. In other words rather than just let you try and summon, you have to waste points to bring in what you want. I hate that in AoS and I don't like it here. I don't do it any more in 40K anyway but that's not the point.
More importantly, they have taken the Age of Sigmar alternating unit combat rule which is something that ruins AoS for me. It should be pick a combat and all units fight simultaneously. The AoS way of doing things is not tactical at all and quite frankly just screws over one player or the other.


No system is ever going to please everyone. It's a shame that a couple of my local players are considering dropping the game because of the changes. I can see why they feel that way but I can't see that the changes are going to ruin the game. Even with the elements that we don't like we should be trying to embrace the new direction and see where it takes us in the months ahead.


Right now though, I just wish Games Workshop would just drop the free PDF rules so we can read them for ourselves and get into the new mindset ready for the 8th edition codexes/battle tomes.

Monday, 24 April 2017

More 8th ed info


We have some excellent new info from the bod's over at Games Workshop about how 8th edition is going to work. If you haven't seen it, have a good read here and enjoy.

From what I have read there I am excited once more. Even I, Mr positive for 8th, was beginning to flag a little with the rumours of what was to come. After reading this again and again, I'm fired back up again.

Bring on 8th edition!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

8th edition FAQ



We have an 8th edition questions FAQ from Games Workshop. You can read it in it's entirety here.

There are a couple points that I want to make here though.

What happens to my codexes?
The rules in our current range of Warhammer 40,000 codexes aren’t compatible with the new edition of Warhammer 40,000. These books will be going off sale very soon. If you do want to pick any up, now’s the time – as all of the great hobby content and background information will be as valid as ever.

Ok... that's fine, but what does that mean for recent releases such as Traitor Legions and The Gather Storm books? If as I expect they are now going the way of the dodo that's a dick move by GW to do that considering that is a shed load of money that has been spent by players. Although I suppose it depends when the new edition comes out but I'm guessing that Death Guard will be the first codex of the new edition (and that makes me happy).

What do you mean “3 ways to play”?
We realise that people like to play Warhammer 40,000 in different ways. 3 broad systems are covered in the new edition: 1) Open play is the most flexible, and easiest to get started with, allowing you to use any miniatures you like. 2) Narrative play is where you can refight the iconic battles of the 41st Millennium, or create your own campaigns and sagas. 3) Matched play is designed for more balanced and competitive games, ideal for gaming clubs, leagues and tournaments. However you want to enjoy playing Warhammer 40,000, there will be rules for that.

My guess is that Open Play will be the new Unbound much like the default rules for Age of Sigmar. Considering how players didn't like a no points AoS then I don't think that will be played as is.

Narrative Play seems odd. It reads as though you decide what both sides have and throw in some special rules. Doesn't appeal to me.

Matched Play seems the way forward and I can imagine that everyone I know will want this as the default.

Why should I not just stick with current Warhammer 40,000?
This is the version of Warhammer 40,000 you’ve been asking for. We’ve listened to your feedback, and we really believe that this is the best Warhammer 40,000 has ever been.

Actually it's not what we've been asking for. We've been asking for a tidy up of the current rules system not a brand new overhaul. It will be interesting to see how 8th will be accepted. I already know at least one person who is getting ready to drop playing because of the proposed changes. I hope it won't happen but I can see people not being keen on it.

It is an interesting time for the game and we should look to the future with hopeful expectation.

Friday, 21 April 2017

40K League 2017 - round 1


The first round is over and done. The table shows how we stand after that round and who everyone will play next.

Dan (Corsairs) and Ian (Necrons) was a hard played draw right down to the end. The tactical objectives decks working well to keep them neck and neck.

Richard M (Ynnari) and Joel (Dark Eldar) was a really tough game but the dice gods were on Richard's side and he was able to contain Joel's pirates in his deployment zone, limiting his ability to grab the objectives.

Mike (Grey Knights) and Mark (Thousand Sons)... I didn't see a lot of this but everything seemed very much in Mark's favour. He got a couple things wrong as you will with that many psychic powers in effect but the dice were with him over the poor Grey Knights.

Gary (Imperial Fists) and Chris (Skitarii), well, I didn't expect Gary to seize victory. Chris' Skitarii army is tough as nails and should have been more than capable of tearing the Imperial Fists down. I'm guessing it fell again to luck with the cards. As I have Chris next round we'll see how it plays out then.

Colin (Death Guard) and Richard C (Crimson Fists)... this should have been an easy win for me following Richard and I's usual games, but the objectives deck was entirely in his favour not mine. He walked away with 11 VP at the end of turn four and I had just 1. Frustrating game.

Ashleigh (Astra Militarum) and Jon (Khorne Daemonkin) was a big ass game as far as I could see. Ashleigh's table side was just solid with troopers and orange jumpsuit clad penal troops. The firepower he was pouring into those poor chaos forces must have been severe but still Jon pulled an unexpected victory back.

Friday, 31 March 2017

40K League 2017


In the past we've not had the best of luck with our 40K leagues. Too many people dropping out and just too many people wanting in and making it unwieldy. This time around I've narrowed it down to those players who will stay the league and limited it to certain number of players who can commit to it.

2000 points and each round is a month with each of the maelstrom of war missions played in order. Simples. The major difference is you don't play a codex necessarily as you play the faction (yes, this does favour Imperial, Chaos and Eldar but its for fun). Your primary army/codex each round can change providing it stays part of your faction. Players can take allies though as normal. Just a little something to make it different.

The first round starts in a couple weeks. Wish us luck.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Kings of War update


A couple weeks ago I finally managed to get two games of Kings of War down the club. Both small 1000 points. I played my old Tomb Kings as the Empire of Dust and Multch had gone out to buy some models to play as Basilia (think religious kingdom of holy warriors and summoned angels). The game is fast to play, with each game taking no more than an hour including set up and rules referencing. The rules are quite simple and even with my usual dislike of the old movement trays and wheeling, I enjoyed the game a lot. Mantic have made the perfect fantasy war game here I feel. I won't be giving up on Age of Sigmar as it is still fun and we have quite a few players for it but if I have a choice KoW will be the game I'd rather play.


Death Guard


Colour me overjoyed that Death Guard are getting some more love, and hopefully, by that scythe, we'll get Mortarion as a character. Can't wait!!!

On other news, to keep my mind off of Mother's Day, I managed to sit down this afternoon and finally finish the Daemon Prince and Heldrake I started two months ago. That's how long it has been since I last had chance to paint anything.

One Daemon Prince.



 I hated painting the Heldrake. The lightning effect over the wings and body are a real sod to do. Frequently I had to go back and try to recover from uneven strokes of the brush. The second one is going to need a different colour scheme.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Kings of War


AS I have mentioned in a previous post despite wanting to play a fantasy war game I could never get into the old Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Just far too complex a set of rules that I found was just not fun to play and I really did not like the setting for the game. The Old World was just a strange hodge podge that never really made much sense. Then along came Age of Sigmar. I rejoiced because the game was nice and simple, and I loved the setting - which reminded me of those old 70's progressive rock album covers. But as time has gone by I've found myself losing interest in Age of Sigmar. Partly because I am finding that I want a little more to the rules set and also because at the heart of it, I want to play a generic fantasy war game. Up on my radar suddenly pops Kings of War from Mantic.

Just watching a dozen or so battle reports on Youtube and reading through their forums, I have developed quite an interest. The system is simple - you can even download a basic set of the rules from their website as well as intro army lists for the main rule book armies. The setting is nice and generic as I like and because of the way it is set up there are some great opportunities for modelling the units. Thirdly, the game is miniature neutral. Although Mantic sell their own miniatures, the point is that so long as the miniatures are the correct scale you can use any model. Sneakily, the armies are also loosely based on what Warhammer Fantasy Battle used to have so you can just import your old established armies over.

Kings of War has 11 factions in the version 2.0 core rule book:

Abyssal Dwarfs: Chaos Dwarfs in Mantica. Simpler put, they're Nazi Dwarfs. Slavers who focus on shotguns, war machines, and fiery golems.
Basileans: Fluff-wise, the Basileans are a lot like the Byzantine/Eastern Roman empire but can summon angels. They have armoured knights, men at arms and nuns riding giant cats.
Dwarfs: Exactly like all other Dwarfs in all other settings, hard and tough and beardy, but unlike Warhammer or Lord of the Rings Dwarfs, they are an expanding empire. They have cavalry... BADGER CAVALRY!!!
Elves: The elite, noble Elves, who are better than you. The Elves are 'good guys' but are responsible for a lot of bad things in Mantica, including splitting the gods into good and evil half-gods, and educating a gifted human child who would grow up to be Mhorgoth the Faceless, the most feared necromancer in all of Mantica. Exactly like the Elves from every other fantasy universe then.
Forces of Nature: Exactly what it says on the tin.
Forces of the Abyss: Servants of 37 evil half gods who live with their masters in Mantica's Hell. They look like the horns and pitchfork devils, with some big ogre demons throw in for good measure.
Goblins: Separate from Orcs in the setting, although they can ally with each other.
Kingdoms of Men: Generic human army intended to be used with your other fantasy and historic miniatures. Different from Mantic's own human models described above.
Ogres: Mercenaries who sometimes get ballsy and make their own little kingdoms. They enjoy fighting, adventure and telling wildly exaggerated stories about their exploits. Ogres don't hold grudges or have any inherent racial prejudices, so they are happy to ally with anyone from Elves to Demons and everything in between. The ogre models produced by Mantic are excellent.
Orcs: Brutal and horde-based; called "greenskins" and "a sea of green," with the Ogre's tendency towards cannibalism thrown in.
Undead: Generic undead including everything from vampires and werewolves to zombies and mummies.

There are also 9 army lists contained within the Uncharted Empires supplement. These lists are intended to rip off a number of different fantasy miniature lines, particularly missing Citadel armies from the core rule book:

The Brotherhood: Another holy order style army, this one more inspired by Bretonnia and Azeroth. Has both big and small water elementals in addition to lots of cavalry options.
Empire of Dust: Essentially Tomb Kings with a larger emphasis on healing than the more standard undead.
League of Rhordia: An alliance of humans and halflings.
Nightstalkers: An odd list in that there aren't really any major miniature lines to represent it. Spooky and strange creatures that resemble Eldrazi and pumpkin monsters in the art. Mantic have announced they plan to release a full product line for this army in the future.
Ratkin: Pretty much Skaven.
Salamanders: Lizard people of a couple different stripes. Formerly known as Reptilians.
The Herd: Beastmen, either taken from the Warhammer Fantasy line or from another line, such as Wrath of Kings.
Trident Realms of Neritica: An aquatic faction, mostly consisting of fishmen and sea beasts.
Varangur: Vikings and raiders reminiscent of Warriors of Chaos. Formerly known as the Shattered Clans.

In addition there are future armies planned that don't yet have full lists yet, although some have beta lists available:

Northern Alliance: A good Elf/human faction from the far north. Said to field various ice-themed creatures as well, such as yetis.
Ophidians: A mix of Arabian and Persian motifs with undead servants and Conan the Barbarian style snake men.
Twilight Kin: Dark Elves with a bit of smexy Dark Eldar thrown in for flavor; live in caves beneath the desert after getting thrown out of the main Elf homeland. The Twilight Kin do have a temporary basic list you can download from the Mantic website.


I've already got a nice sized Tomb Kings army from the days of Warhammer Fantasy so I can field as either generic undead or more likely, the Empire of Dust. I'm also tempted by a couple others, mainly Neritica (cthulhu people!), Nightstalkers and Elves. The costs of Mantic's own barmy bundles is reasonable so I may pick up more as well.

I'm hoping to tempt a few of my fellow players away from Age of Sigmar to this in the coming months as I think they will enjoy this more than AoS for the most part. But the best thing is there is no reason to not play either game because of only one set of miniatures.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Where do we go from here?



Buffy fans will recognise that song. What does it have to do with a 40K blog? I'm glad you asked. The recent announcement that the game was getting it's first loyalist Primarch back has set the old internet forums going hell for leather again. Some of it positive as it should be but there is a lot of negativity that I feel isn't justified. The lyrics to this song are perfect for the current online atmosphere.


Where do we go from here
The battle's done,
And we kinda won.
So we sound our victory cheer.
Where do we go from here.
Why is the path unclear,
When we know home is near.
Understand we'll go hand in hand,
But we'll walk alone in fear. (Tell me)
Tell me where do we go from here.

For more years than I can count there has been a huge push from the fan base to advance the storyline. Now at last we are getting somewhere. The Doomsday Clock is counting down the seconds to midnight. Cool things are happening and... everyone loses their minds.

I was as shocked as anyone when Magnus the Red popped up and Fenris was all but wasted. I mean wow! We have a traitor Primarch and surely that meant that GW couldn't stop there. Which loyalist Primarch would make a return? Well, my money was on Leman Russ considering the whole Wulfen and Fenris business but no. Instead we get the fall of Cadia, the birth of an Eldar god and the Primarch of the Ultramarines returns! This is a great time to be a Warhammer 40K gamer. We are at last getting everything that we wanted.

So why is everyone so frightened that when 8th edition comes along that we'll be reduced to an Age of Sigmar type game or that the current universe will come crashing down and something new appear in it's place? GW have already said, and I have no reason to disbelieve them, that the game and the universe are not entering the "End Times". 

The problem is, in my opinion, that we have what we wanted but now fear of change and of the unknown is gripping people. I'm not a fan of change and I don't like new editions when they aren't necessary (and I don't consider GW making fresh cash every few years necessary for an edition change), but right now I am super excited for the game. These new characters, balanced super heavies and the direction that the game is going, is just going to make the game better. I recently said on a Facebook discussion that the universe has always been grim dark but now the game is becoming epic. Sorry, EPIC! 

In the years to come god-like heroes and villains from all factions will stride the battlefields of the 41st millennium and it is going to make the game better, whether you are a competitive tournament player or a casual play at home with your mates type player. This isn't a time to be frightened for the future. It's time to embrace the game, reload that bolter under your bed, and claim the galaxy for yourself!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Are Tournaments Even Playing 40K Anymore?

I run two invitational Warhammer 40K tournaments a year for my local players. I'm always looking at ways to make the events better and more appealing. After all, at some point I want to open up the events to more players at some point and make these events something good for the local region.

I run the rules as written. If it is legal in a regular 40K game then it is legal for the tournament. Forge World units and rules equally suitable. But then these events are designed to be competitive. I want players to bring their best lists and their A game.

And that is where I find my current level of confusion and surprise. I keep looking online at other event's tournament rules and scenarios for inspiration. What I find surprises me. It looks like so many tweak the rules, changing rules, disallowing perfectly fine units and options, and using bland looking home-brew scenarios. It looks to me as though tournaments are not playing 40K but some strange hybrid of their own making.

A tournament should be fun but competitive. I don't think players should not be penalized in army selection and the rule book missions are perfectly suitable for tournament play. Now I do prefer those missions which use the tactical objective cards and I can understand the point of view which says they are too random for tournament use but in the couple of occasions that they have been used for our tournaments they worked fine.

It's hard to balance these things and I guess I'll just keep looking and pondering ways to make our invitational events fun.