Monday, August 30, 2010

The Complete IoB Guide for High Elves

In this post, you'll find that the "tactics" I recommend doesn't just cover gameplay mechanics, but it'll also cover some smart buying options to save on money before the next wave of releases.  Before we begin, let's see what we actually get from the Island of Blood starter set.  I will only list the things that are important to High Elves since I can give a damn about Skaven.

With each box, you get:
1x Mini-Rulebook
1x High Elf Prince on Griffon
1x High Elf Mage
10x Sword Masters in Full Command
10x Lothern Sea Guard in Full Command
5x Ellyrion Reavers w/ Champ

Points wise, it looks something like this:
1x Mini-Rulebook = Priceless (grab one ASAP)
1x High Elf Prince on Griffon = 350 without any upgrades
1x High Elf Mage = 100
10x Sword Masters in FC = 180
10x LSG in FC (Shields) = 155, 145 without shields
5x Ellyrion Reavers w/ Champ (Bows) = 112, 92 without bows

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That thing you love

For me, there's always that one thing that stands out that makes you want to play the faction you play in whatever game.  Be it RTS, FPS, MMO, RPG, Table-top, it doesn't matter.  Some people pick their race or faction based on that faction's playstyle.  For example, a friend of mine plays Dark Elves because they're fast and has great special rules and items that makes them powerful.

Believe it or not, I don't pick armies based on their playstyle.  I pick them based on whether or not I think they're cool or not.  The army has to appeal to me first and then I mold my playstyle to fit the design of the army.  If the army requires me to play with fast, offensive units to be effective, I will do that.  If the army requires me to play more defensive and patient, I will do that too.  I am flexible.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Playing someone else's game

So I was watching a game of Warmachine tonight (damn you OT!) for about 15 minutes and I think I made a critical gaming error.  The error is:  Playing someone else's game.  Giving advice is one thing.. especially to a rusty player that hasn't played in a couple of months.. but giving him the game winning scenario is just wrong.  I don't know what I was thinking actually, it must be all this overtime that's frying my thinking process.

Here's what happened:  It was 35pts of Retribution w/ Kaelyssa vs. Cygnar led by pNemo.  Both of these guys are my friends so it was a fun, casual game.  At the end of the Retribution player's turn, Nemo had like 5 HP left because of Backlash and mass shooting had that left a Lancer dead, a disrupted Charger and a dying warcaster.  As a Cygnar player, I looked at what my friend had left over and the game winning strategy came to me immediately.  Keep in mind that the Cygnar player hasn't played in god knows how long.. so he's still fiddling around with his cards and re-remembering what his units did.  Like a dipshit, I blurped out:  "I think I see a caster kill here".  I didn't go out and say what order of operations he needed to do to secure absolute victory, but I watched as my words sank in and guided his Defender to take a boosted shot at Kaelyssa that left her with 7 hitboxes.  Needless to say, I went back to my desk and minutes later, my other friend (the Retribution player) texted me that Cygnar won after I left.

Now's the time to feel like ass.  As much as I wanted to help the Cygnar player, sometimes the best thing to do is just watch as a bystander.  Advice is one thing, but a game winning tactic should be kept mouth-shut until the game is over.  It's not as bad in 40K and WHFB because the game isn't as sudden death like WM is, but that's no excuse.  After the game, you can brag, laugh and slap eachother in the face all you want, but during the game, there should be a "no advice zone".

Just wanted to share with you this quick experience.  I'm sure it's happened to everyone and I know no one likes a passenger-seat player messing with your game.  This is one of my biggest pet peeves in all of wargaming and I really fluffed it up today.  Alright guys, your turn.  Story time GO!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Feelin' some Warmachine

You know what game I like?  Warmachine.  It's one of the most down to earth, get in your face table-top games I've ever played.  After playing 8th Ed. Fantasy for a good long time and getting back into 40K as well, I think to myself:  I feel like I'm missing something.  Could it be the risk of instantly losing the game?  Could it be the more realistic cover system?  What about the more robust combat system?  Or how about the fact that the game is just faster to play?  I think it's a combination of all them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flames of War?

So I've been looking into Flames of War lately simply because I LOVE World War II.  I'm such a WWII buff that when I went to Europe and visited Normandy, I knew more about the history and events than our tour guide.  If I ever move to Europe, I would probably consider being a guide.. I just have to learn a couple of languages first.

Right, so how does this tie into minis?  Well.. for one.. I got confused to all hell when I first started doing research on the game.  I come from the GW's line of wargaming so I'm spoiled by army books and codexes.  Yeah.. there's no such thing in Flames of War.  In order for you to build an army list, you must first choose the era that you want to play in (early, mid, late war) and then choose a campaign book to build your army from.  This pretty much means you have to have a good idea of what you wanted to play.  There's 4 main factions in this game:  Germans, Russians, Americans and the British.  There's also sub-factions within these main factions like the Finnish and the Canadians; but aside from a few special rules and minis, they don't really add too much.

Personally, if I was planning to play this game, I would go late war and go Germans.  That's when their soldiers are the most veteran and when the technology of the game is the most advanced.  If you like big tanks, die-hard troops and earth-shaking artillery that can rock the field, late war is the place to be.  From a historical standpoint, it makes perfect sense too!  The Germans are mostly on the retreat with Allies gaining air superiority and better priced units (to show the economy advantage).  The Russians are pressing hard on the Eastern Front and things are pretty intense on both fronts.  I don't know enough about the game to say anything about the balance just yet.

For anyone who wants to get involved, I would imagine that you need to know what you wanted to play.  An example of this would be:  I want to play.. Armored Rifle Company, Russian Tank Company, Germans with a mixed arms approach with both Infantry and Tanks, Paratroopers, Mass artillery, Tanks + artillery..etc.  Once you got that, you need to hunt down the campaign that has that army.  For a non-WWII buff, you probably need to do some asking around on the official forums so those guys there can point you to the right direction.

With that being said, how exactly do you make a army list in FoW?

1. Pick out the Era you want to play in.
2. Pick out a campaign book that has the army you want to play.
3. Construct a army list with the list requirements.

For me: Late War, Germans with Tiger Tanks and a strong army list that can take on all-comers.  I used a few pdfs found on the FoW main website, the Cobra campaign book and the Villers-Bocage book to make my two army lists.  The first is just Wittmann + Tiger tanks and the second one is more balanced:

101.SS Schwere

Wittmann = 350
Tiger 2iC = 240
2x Tigers = 480
2x Tigers = 480
3x Squads of Motorized Scouts = 200



Company HQ + Shreck = 80
3x Panzergrenadier Squads (SMG + Faust) = 250
3x Panzergrenadier Squads (SMG + Faust) = 250
2x MG Sections = 155
2x Pak40s = 135
3x Nebels = 150
2x Tigers = 480

Now that my army list is done, I need to read up on the rules. For some reason, the rules look a lot more complicated than GW's games. They make sense from a historical game design standpoint.  A veteran unit will hit a non-trained conscript a lot easier..  a Confident soldier will make his motivation roll more frequently than a "reluctant" soldier.. or if you penetrate the hull of a Tiger tank, you have to roll to see if the shell detonates or goes right through by rolling for firepower values. You know, stuff like that.

It's a little daunting at first since so much info is thrown in your face. No wonder why the starter set has like 2 German tanks and 3 Allied tanks and that's all you get (plus mini-rulebook). They don't want to scare you away with all the crazy infantry rules (the assault phase is incredibly complicated imo). I think at the end of the day, I'm stilling standing between the fence. On one side, the game is cool because it's WWII and I love the German Army.. but on the other side, I have inflexible lists (something I'm not used to), a less popular game and complicated rules. Any help?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The cover system for 40K is terrible

So I played a game yesterday with my friend Adam and he was using Tyranids vs. my Blood Angels.  The game was really fun and we went to 7 rounds.. ending up with a draw at the end.  One of the things that came up during the game was when 13 Gaunts were behind cover and 12 of them weren't.  Now I don't know about you guys, but I find it extremely.. extremely frustrating when something that looks completely unrealistic like that gets a 4+ cover save because the rules say so.  All his gaunts were wildly spread out, maintaining the bare minimum of 2" coherency just so they can milk that cover rule.  Not only did it look visually unappealing, but the rules looked really written.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the cover system in 40K at all.  The fact that everything fits under the 4+ cover category is mind-boggling stupid.  Now I'm not saying this just to get at his Gaunts, I would say the same thing about my Space Marines if they were visually unappealing and taking advantage of such rules.  I mean, look at current 8th Ed. Fantasy.  They have soft cover and hard cover that reduces your BS by -1 or -2 depending on what type of cover you're in.  Does it reduce the number of possible wounds you can inflict?  Yes.  Will it work in a system like 40K?  That's debatable.

In my opinion, the vast majority of the cover saves in 40K should of been 5+, with anything better than that being 4+.  It's far more realistic than having half of your wounds being cut simply because the units you're shooting at says so.  What do you guys think?  How do you think the metagame will change if the majority of cover saves are 5+ instead of 4+?  How would the game change if we switched to soft and hard cover?  You tell me.

What does "cost effective" mean?

I know that by now, you guys must be asking yourselves:  Hey, this guy talks about cost effective units all the time.. but what the hell does it really mean?  In short, being cost effective means the "best bang for your buck".. in gaming terms.

This isn't going to be a terribly long post.. since I'm currently worked to shit and I'm kinda tired.  First, a short bio of who I am and why do I think cost effective choices are the way to do things.  For starters, I've played RTS games since I can remember clearly.  My first game was Command and Conquer, then I moved onto StarCraft, WarCraft, the expansions, played Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, all the BfME games, all the Age of X games... basically, every single RTS game ever made.  I'm currently in Diamond Legaue in SC2 and I barely get to play.  Not to brag or anything, but I have a natural affinity towards playing these kind of games.  I know how to optimize, adapt and execute on my strategy.

You know what all these RTS games have taught me over these long years?  That being cost effective is the way to victory.  There's no way in hell that I'm not going to take something that's cheaper and can do the same job as something more expensive.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  Like a computer trying to run a program in some language it doesn't understand.  When fluff players talk to me and brag how they like to take 10 Terminators in every game, my head draws a blank: A real life question-mark.  A state of confusion.  Pretty much a giant WTF.

When I first started playing minis games 10 years back, I used the same RTS mentality and skill and applied it to Warhammer 40K.  In a game like StarCraft, if I was given 2k minerals and I was told to construct a solid Terran army (pretend that nothing costs gas), I could hand you Marines, Medics, Tanks, Sci Vessels and some Goliaths.  Apply that in 40K terms, I'll hand you a bunch of Grey Hunters in Rhinos, some Long Fangs, a Rune Priest or two and some Terminators in a LRC.  That's just how my head thinks.  I see every table-top game as a small "macro" game in StarCraft which sole purpose is to maximize on damage vs. all types of enemies.  This is why my lists always come out strong, powerful and can take on any foe.  This, is the very definition of min-maxing and the only way you can truly understand how to min-max is by knowing your shit.  Maybe that's why I can play Marines effectively.  I understand the value of PPM (Points Per Model) and I know that wound saturation does not mix with a poor PPM ratio.  When building an army list, I make sure I use every available facet of knowledge I have in the game and construct a army that's both powerful and balanced.

I'd like to finish this post off with a very rewarding quote from a very respectable person.  It just comes to show you that no matter how many times you lose, you will always walk away a winner..  As long as you learn from your mistakes that is.

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
-- Michael Jordan

PS - I'm currently looking into Flames of War stuff.  I'm a huge WW2 buff and I've always wanted to play Germans in a miniatures game.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Min-maxing is NOT WAAC

I'm going to be frank here: I hate it when people relate min-maxing to Win At All Costs. Being point efficient with your army because you want to be competitive does not mean you are a WAAC player. First, let me give you my definition of min-maxing and WAAC.

The min-maxer player is a competitive gamer that maximizes his army book and his army list.  He is first and foremost; a competitive player.  Not only does he understand the game, the rules, and his army book very well, he understands other armies very well as he believes that the key to victory, is game knowledge.  He likes taking units that best suits the needs of his army, often times being molded and shaped by the ever-changing metagame. He understands that the current meta has vehicles and thus melta weapons are the key at punching through armor at close range, just as an example.  The min-maxer also recognizes that to not take the most cost effective unit is to throw a wrench into a otherwise well-oiled machine (such as his army list) and thus he does not do so.  He is essentially the player that always takes what he views, is the best bang for your buck.  I am a min-maxing, power gaming, competitive player.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I finally painted something

After 2 years of getting shat on by my fellow Blizz Wargamers, I finally painted something.

This makes me extra sad because I used to have 27 of these Terminators.. and 30 Power Armored Grey Knights.

If it's true that Grey Knights will come out in early 2011.. I'll probably end up picking them up again and painting all of them like this.

The paint scheme used was:
+++Primed with PP White+++
1. Boltgun metal base coat.
2. Mithril Silver drybrush
3. Badab black wash
4. More mithril silver drybrushing
5. Shining Gold on the gold lettering
6. Ogyrn Flesh on the shining gold.
7. Mechrite red on the books and medals.
8. Menoth white followed by menoth white highlight.
9. Devlan mud on the red and the menoth.
10. Enchanted Blue, then Icy Blue, then Asurman Blue wash on the Psycannon and Eyes.
11. Frostbite dot on the Psycannon + middle of the eyes.
12. Chaos Black on the outer pat of the psycannon.
13. Asurman blue wash on the sword a couple of times.

Total time: 4 hours.

I left out the scribe-work on the scrolls because my hands are no longer as steady as they used to be.. sadly.

Anyways, please enjoy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grey Knights nostalgia

Damn.. this sucks.  I have High Elves coming out in September and November.. and now I have Grey Knights to look forward to.  I am going to be SO poor!

So going back in time.. Grey Knights was the first army that I ever owned.  The first time I walked into a GW store, I was asked to pick out a blister and paint a free mini.  Guess what I bought and painted?  A Grey Knight Terminator because the model was absolutely bad ass.

My paint scheme was...
Prime White
Boltgun Metal basecoat
Black Ink wash
Mithril Silver drybrush
More washing on the parts that needed it
Enchanted Blue + blue ink wash on the eyes
Red Gore + Blood Red + black ink wash on the books
Bleached Bone + Skull White mixture + brown ink wash on the Scrolls
Shining Gold + Chestnut Ink wash on the gold parts
Blue ink wash layering on the weapon

I painted so many of these bastards and to let them go for a measly 350 bux is just really really sad face. I had something like 27 Grey Knight Terminators!  This just comes to show you guys.. NEVER EVER sell your minis.. especially your painted ones.  If you get bored from playing them, just shelve them for a later date.