Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hammer Units - Size Matters?

So I got in a game with my roommate today and after losing three TH/SS Terminators to small arms fire (and another one in CC before , I got to thinking - how big should the "hammer" unit of an army be?

The larger the unit, the more costly (duh), but you also retain a lot more bite even with a few casualties (while in say a 5 man unit of Terminators or 4 man Seer Council, losing one or two of them HURTS).

What's your opinions?

On a side note - I finished painting my first Terminator yesterday and am working on basing it today. As soon as I get my camera back from the shop (this weekend) I'll throw up some pics.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

List Theory - Unbalanced Lists

When most people build lists, they go for a very mixed and balanced approach. However, most codexes have the potential to throw enough bodies or armor at your opponent to frustrate him beyond belief. I am, of course, talking about the Unbalanced List.

The Unbalanced List is not necessary an overpowered or broken one, simply one that aims to maximize a certain strength in order to completely minimize or make ineffective the impact of a balanced list.

By removing one or more elements entirely from your list and using those points to further enhance another element, you create the unbalanced list. Examples are the Imperial Guard Armored Company (a couple infantry squads, command squad - all in Chimeras, and then more Leman Russes than you can shake a stick at.), the Ork Horde, Nidzilla, Elfzilla, IG Infantry spam, Dreadnought/Kan spam, and so on so forth.

The idea is to completely overwhelm your opponent's ability to nullify your strong point (Kill their templates, anti-armor weapons or fast movers) and then just clean up everything else. The beautiful thing is that even it takes you two or three turns to wipe out your opponent's anti-armor (and you lose one or two pieces in the process), you still have enough armor on the board to be a credible threat that they might not even be able to deal with effectively.

What are your thoughts on the Unbalanced List?


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Key to Winning - Playing Disruptively

Alright, first off - I'd like to preface this by saying I'm a little frustrated with myself. I was working on 'this' post last night, closed my computer, woke up this morning and started moving all my stuff to the my college apartment, which is a three hour drive from home. After finally unpacking everything, I finally got back to writing this and accidentally closed the window, losing a good page of material. -_-

On to the topic - playing disruptively. When most players write an army list, they usually have some sort of game plan in mind, whether it's to fly around and pick up the win/tie on turn 5 or to throw enough kill your way to table you by turn 3.

Whatever their strategy is, your strategy becomes to counter it in a suitable fashion, making their tidal wave of bloodthirsty killers wash harmlessly against the beach, and then laugh maniacally as you kill it dead.

The first (and probably most important step) is to look at your opponent's army and to understand the role of each unit in the army:

1) What can each unit do (alone or with support)?
2) How much damage can take before it's relatively ineffectual?
3) When/where is it strongest (early game, late game, in your face, at a distance, in cover, out of LOS, etc)?

The faster you can do this, the better. No one likes to be kept waiting for 20 minutes to start a game just so you can plan a Machiavellian victory.

Then, ask yourself these questions in order to gauge your weaknesses. Is your army particularly vulnerable to shooting or assault? Is it mobile or static? Is it tough and resilient or are you wearing tissue for armor?
When you're done, prioritize the enemy targets. Your goal is to nullify your opponent's strengths, while simultaneously covering your weaknesses.

1) In just about all cases, I make it my first priority to cripple the opponent's ability to respond to you by wiping out his transports (or if there aren't any, then his other mobile elements). Turn one, I leave only my durable units on the board, while the fragile elements usually stick back in Reserve.

2) After his mobile elements are either crippled or destroyed, your goal is to destroy or nullify the greatest threat to your army. If it's a shooting unit, assault it or use some LOS creatively (Rhino walls are a common tactic) to try and negate some hits.

If it's an assault unit, you have three options. You can either shoot enough bullets at it to make it a nice pincushion, give it a speedbump, or ignore it. The key to a speedbump is that your sacrificial unit (volunteers please!) HAS to die in the opponent's charge. That way, you're free to shoot the snot out of him next turn. If he kills you on your turn, then his assault squad can continue to hack n' slash through another unit. The last option is harder for many armies to pull off - you have to either negate their speed or just be naturally faster than them and play a giant game of cat and mouse.

3) Play Clean Up - On the last two or three turns, you can consolidate your objectives, mop up any other targets of opportunity and play conservatively. The faster your army is, the later you can jump onto objectives.

In a nutshell, that's your battle plan. Assess, Destroy, ????, Profit.

C&C Welcome

Monday, August 17, 2009

Space Hulk!

Image Courtesy of GW

Being relatively new to the hobby (3 years now), I've heard many good things about the original Space Hulk boardgame, but have never had the pleasure of actually playing it. Needless to say, as soon as it was officially announced and preorders were optional, I put in my order without thinking twice. :P

I know there was a lot of griping and speculation on what the "Mystery Box" was and I'm sure quite a few people are upset and disappointed that it didn't contain what they wanted (I heard someone wishfully hoping for a plastic Thunderhawk. Yeah, right) and are now complaining and calling GW liars and frauds and other unsavory things.

Not to sound rude, but they can deal with it. This is a game that many of the younger generation of tabletop gamers have not experienced and would otherwise never have the chance to play it. From what I hear, quite a few people started playing 40k because they played one or two games of Space Hulk.

Complaints that I've read are the fact that the models are not on standard 40k bases and that the terminators are covered in Blood Angels iconography. I can understand why GW could've done otherwise and why it is the way it is.

By providing the standard 40k bases in Space Hulk, GW would basically be alowing people who have Space Hulk to use those models in 40k. On the offhand, there's a whole 'nother slew of problems that come into play then - such as possible mold limitations (assuming that the model was molded attached to the base) and how the bases would get attached (I know I was frustrated with the pegged foot deal from AoBR).

It would've been pretty easy to make the Terminators with non-chapter specific iconography, but I imagine that GW wanted to make sure the re-release was as similar to the first edition release (with some rules/miniature polishing) as possible in order to maintain that nostalgia factor for the 20 year anniversary.

Basically, I'm hoping that people will get over the fact that Space Hulk is meant to be a STAND ALONE board game, not a great deal for some Terminators. I know that when I get my box, I'm gonna play a few rounds, and paint those Terminators in all their Blood Angels splendor, stick'em in some packing foam and put'em right back in the box until the next time I play and have a great time.

What are some of your opinions on the rerelease of Space Hulk?


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Army Envy, Model Fever, etc

I'm sure we've all had it at some point or another. We play against an army or see a new model and we think "Oh, man I want that."

I know for me, this happens all the time. I have the unfortunate tendency (due to being a college student in the off-season) to make an army list (or two or three) a day using different codices. While I do think it's fun and it helps me understand what to expect from each army, I always get that desire to build or collect that specific army.

Three lists that I've done recently are a Sisters of Battle army (triple Exorcist & Callidus Assassin :D), a Thousand Sons army and a Space Marine Scout list and have seriously had to resist the urge to start buying (even though my Salamanders aren't even near completion).

Fortunately for me (or if you'd prefer, unfortunately), I have little to no money to spend on Warhammer at the time and that's my deterrent from dropping into model fever.

What do you guys do to resist the urge to buy new models?


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Surviving the Tournament

So I was at my first tournament today at Misty Mountain North in Burnsville, MN. This was my first tournament experience and I rather satisfied on how I did, given my casual army building (1 win - 2 losses). I wish I had kept the missions just for reflectionary purposes.

Should there be interest for some mini-bat-reps, just leave a comment and I'll consider working on them. No pics, unfortunately, as my camera is still on the fritz.

Seeing as I'm dead tired after the assembling marathon last night (4:45 PM to 3 AM and then 7:30 am to 8:45 am) and the shindig today, I'll give an abridged version of my lessons and expand on these in later posts (I always keep saying I'll do that, don't I?)

Lesson 1) Be Prepared Physically, Mentally and Morale-ly (I know, not a word.)
I got very little sleep the previous night. The first match, I was being powered by a muffin, a bottle of Gatorade and a bottle of Frappucino. It went well, actually, but as soon as my energy peaked off, things felt like they were going poorly for me. Even after the lunch break, my second and third match felt terribly taxing and I just was not feeling confidant. Keeping all three up is probably the key to enjoying these events.

Lesson 2) Understand the Metagame
So guess how many Space Marine players there were? Guess how many of those ran Vulkan? Basically, understand what you're facing

Lesson 3) Build the list for the Event
This was my biggest fault. I normally play in the 1500-1750 or so point values and this tournament was at 2000 points. Instead of writing a list specifically for 2000 point games, I just added on another 250 points that really didn't fit anything (mainly because I didn't have the money to spend or more models and had to make due with what I had...).

Anywho, the moral of the story is prepare, prepare, prepare and prepare some more.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sternguard Veteran Completed

Hey all,

It's been a long week for me with work and trying to help my friends out with their armies.
I have a friend who (in the last week and a half) has purchased two Tyranid Battleforces, a box of Gaunts, a Hive Tyrant and a Tyrant Guard. Unfortunately, he's still got two more Battleforces coming in on Friday and everything has to be assembled by Saturday for the Tournament. On the plus side, I've figured out how to magnetize a Carnifex.

Anywho, I managed to put together my Predator and magnetize all the sponsons and turrets.
Unfortunately, my camera is on the fritz, so no picture worth uploading. :(

However, here are pics of the Sternguard Prototype fully painted and based.

As always, C&C Welcome