Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tactics: Mob Rule

So today I was having one of those moments where I was contemplating the vicissitudes of 40k, and my mind began to circle the drain of the new Ork “Mob Rule” CSR (codex special rule.) Once it went down the drain it entered a very, very dark place. Let us look at the rule. It says, “Ork mobs may always choose to substitute the number of Orks in their mob for their normal Leadership value. If an Ork mob numbers 11 or more models, it has the Fearless special Rule.”

I think this is a genius rule. It accurately shows that the Orks are force of numbers, and as they get smaller due to combat attrition their morale begins to fail. Where I went with this rule was an attempt to make the first sentence work for the Orks in a new way. Many Ork players utilize this rule in its most direct “Gorker” method of use. I have never been a “Gorker,” but a “Morker.” This is evident in my clan of choice: Blood Axes. (If Gorker or Morker are unfamiliar terms for you do some research in GW’s Gorkamorka Game.)

I bet you are wondering how Orks can use “Mob Rule” cunningly. First we need to explain the most basic tenet of this rule all Orks have it. Second “may always choose to substitute number of Orks in their mob for their normal Leadership value,” doesn’t specify the lower limit. Therefore, an Ork mob of two may have their base Leadership of 7 (-1 if they are below 50%) or a Leadership of 2.

This rule is terribly helpful for getting large units of Gretchin tied up in close combat out of the way. Yes! I said exactly what you think I said. One can use this rule to disengage Gretchin mobs from combat. It is quite easy, and should only be done in your opponent’s close combat phase. Gretchin mobs use the Runtherderz leadership for Morale checks. Since at most there would be three Runtherderz in the mob, and they have the “Mob Rule” CSR… Basically, you are counting on the Grots loosing close combat, which they will unless your opponent is terribly unlucky. What it boils down to is tying up a unit with Grots, and when you are ready to assault your target with a proper Ork mob then you pull out the Grots and let fly.

My other “Cunnin’ Plan” has to do with using 3, 6 man Kommando Mobs. If at all possible infiltrate them 12” away from your opponent, and try to have them about 9”- 12” from your closest foot sloggers. Many players get nervous about units being fairly close to their lines, so they will send out a unit to deal with the threat. Hopefully, if they got first turn, and they assault this sacrificial lamb, then your chances are good at loosing the close combat. Make sure you pull your casualties so you are no longer engaged. That way when you “fail” your leadership test your opponent will be hanging out in the wind with no choice but to get hit by a ton of Boyz. At very least you have brought your opponent within reach of all of your 12” shots.

The key to playing “Mob Rule” effectively is to quit thinking like a Goff. Most Ork players want to get tied up in lengthy close combats where they are inflicting maximum damage. Effective use of the “Mob Rule” CSR requires pulling casualties to disengage your unit, careful positioning to ensure that you can easily break from combat, and small enough units of Orks so that you can break off combat without being below 50%.
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Painting Pointers

I realized after a few read throughs, that Atredies article was not about lazy painting, but about working smarter not harder. When one has nine pointers on how to turn out painted forces they aren’t lazy; they’re economical. The thought occurred to me that many of his pointers were the base for which advanced painting techniques come from, so I thought I would share some tips on improving your painting ability.

1. Paint often

If you paint 5 minutes or 5 hours, you must paint everyday. This simple act will improve your skills, even if you are not trying to. Painting on a daily basis will build muscle memory and fine motor skills. I find that when I go without painting it takes me some time to get back into it, so save your self the hassle.

2. Ask

I find that I have learned more from asking others more experienced than me how they accomplish various effects. Painters love telling you how they accomplished a project, so take advantage of this willingness to share.

3. Research

You should always look for new techniques. Thanks to the internet this is a fairly easy task. For example, Micron Pens have made some of my painting tasks easier, and in fact I have become faster painter because of these miraculous pens.

4. Tools

If you are really into painting figures invest in your tools. I used to think that brushes or paints were the same as any other. I must say I was truly mistaken. Cheap hobby paints are substandard when compared to figure paints and artist paints, and brushes are not all created equal. Since I’ve upgraded my brushes and stopped using cheapo paints my work has improved. Please understand by no means are your tools magic “PF Flyers” but they will assist you in the quest for improvement.

5. Cheat

Painting is all about the art of illusion. If you find a shortcut, a rule to break, or technique that gives you a better illusion then do it. By no means are any set of pointers or advice meant to be hard fast rules. This is your hobby, so in the end it is up to you to define how to best approach it.
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Finished Pre Heresy DA Commander

Well ladies and gents I have completed a comissione piece that is now all made of awesom and win. So without further ado, or guilding the lily:

Crosposted at Adeptus Astragalactica

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Codex Ork FAQ

So why is it that the German GW Studio can get their crap together one week after the release of a new codex and produce a FAQ that means a lick? What have we heard from England for us English speakers/ readers? Well we have heard that the German FAQ is only for Germany and that the Germans took it upon themselves to fix the screw ups, and by no means is this official for English. Hmmm I guess that means I'll be playing playing in the German GT. ;) Anywho for your edification here is the link on GW Germany's site. Oh BTW you'll need to be able to read German. Teh German FAQ
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Friday, January 11, 2008

On the Death of Heroes

This will be a small departure that has a point. On January 10, 2008, Sir Edmund Hillary died. He was a hero of mine, so in memory of this great explorer I present my favorite quote that was attributed to him when he failed to reach the summit of Everest in 1951. He said, “You defeated me! But you won’t defeat me again! Because you have grown all you can grow… but I am still growing.”

The point: Don’t let defeat be the end. So many times we face defeat, or loss, and we give it permission to win. From defeat we assume the position that we are unable, or that we will never win. Defeat is a better counselor than victory. That is because victory is the result of successful learning, and that you have applied the lessons that have been presented to you. Defeat means that something or someone has presented a lesson that we either haven’t learned or that we are wrestling with. Defeat is also the wonderful reminder that we are human.

So tonight let us raise a drink to a man that showed us defeat will enable us to find victory!

Cross posted at The Adeptus Astragalactica
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Battle of the Wagons

Codex Orks is upon us now and I will be writing up yet another review. However, I noticed something in my recent games with the new codex that I thought should be addressed because it deals with a larger, more important, concept. A thought began swimming in my head over the last few months. It was: why is it that my ├╝ber points expensive, larger than life, battle wagon ineffective? I was thinking about fielding a Pez dispenser instead because at least the Pez dispenser would do something.

Well the thought finally dawned on me what the difficulty was. My Battle Wagon was suffering from a case of Multiple Purpose Disorder (MPD). MPD is an Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) that cannot settle on a battlefield role. What I mean can be seen in our friend the Land Raider. A Land Raider is a great transport. It is also a pretty mean tank, but it has trouble when it is being tasked to do both at the same time.

So how does this apply to my friend the Battle Wagon? Well I was arming it to the teeth with tons of upgrades thinking that I would drive forward, drop off troops, and shoot the tar out of my opponent. This in and of itself was terribly flawed thinking. The reason was that it was so expensive that I could only take one Battle Wagon, and so on turn one my Battle Wagon was a fire magnet/ points sink.

This has inspired me to revise how I look at the Battle Wagon. The Battle Wagon is not a tank; it is an infantry support vehicle. Let us take a close look at the upgrades it can be given and it will become painfully obvious how to use this vehicle.

Shooty Weapons
The Battle Wagon has a wide array of weapons available. What should be considered is the range on most of them. The Big Gunz and Big Shootas have comparable ranges. They can hit targets out to 36”. The Kill Kannon and Rokkit Launchas can strike targets out to 24”. The significance here is 24” is too short when it comes to ranges. Almost every army in the game will have longer range artillery/ heavy weapons and they will stomp the Battle Wagon into the ground.

If you were to take the maximum shooty weapon load out for the equally ranged weapons then you would be paying the following: 35 points for 36” ranged weapons and 100 points for all 24” weapons.

Choppy Weapons/ Upgrades
This is where the Battle Wagon gets ugly. The Def Roller, Wrecking Ball, Boarding Plank, and Grabbin’ Klaw make the Battle Wagon a juggernaut. These weapons exceed the strength of the shooting weapons, and are comparatively cheaper than the shooting weapons. They also give the Battle Wagon the ability to inflict major damage on opponent tanks and vehicles. The cheaper cost of these upgrades gives an Ork player the chance to have more battle wagons in their force.

Me Orky No Wat’s
Either option for the Battle Wagon is perfectly acceptable. If you are going to upgrade the guns to be Kill Kannon and Rokkits then by no means should this vehicle consider transport duties. It must shoot every turn and move as little as possible. Once your opponent has knocked the ordinance weapon off then it can be a transport, but not until it has been relieved of its ordinance weapon.

This battle wagon will excel at infantry support. What I mean is primary targets for this tank should be soft juicy infantry models, and not tanks. Let your opponent sweat the decision to target your Wagon or your Boyz, and let your wagon pummel your opponent’s infantry with high-AP-insta-kill goodness. The Shooty Wagon will run from 150 to 270 points, but that depends on the options and weapons you put on it.

For this warlord, my money is on the Choppy Wagons. I think that their ability to get the boyz to their destination will be invaluable. I also think that their ability to engage close-by targets will increase their threat ability. The big consideration is that fully loaded out for close up duties, with infantry killing guns, only costs at most 175 points. A lower cost will allow you to take two of them. Two Wagons will ensure that you will be able to use them beyond turn 1. Failing that, you will have distracted a lot of fire from your advancing horde.

When I utilized a little point manipulation I figure that I will be able to take two Battle Wagons in a 2000 point game.

So before you throw your Battle Wagons onto the field, take a look at what you want them to do. I feel that by avoiding MPD, and specifically tasking your Battle Wagons, you will be a force to be reckoned with.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

New Year Plans

Many websites and blogs run a New Year or year in review post of some variety, so I’ve decided that I should reflect on what happened for me this last year in gaming and let my readers know what is going on for the upcoming year.

2007 in review
This last year has been a big year for me. We will start with the release of the Empire Army book for Warhammer Fantasy. The release of this marked the beginning of a year filled with all sorts of new releases for me.

Immediately on the heels of that book came Codex: Dark Angels. I was mildly entertained that my two longest running armies had back to back releases. I was pleased with both books and have had a lot of fun playing them.

2007 also saw the release of Apocalypse, which I strongly feel is demonstrating the future direction that Games Workshop is going. So far, the games of Apocalypse that I have been a party to have been fun, which is where I think GW is going. This new addition to the game has allowed many of us to dust off our Armorcast Super Heavy Tanks and Titans. It has also encouraged me to begin the fine art of scratch building, which has been fun and challenging.

Plans for 2008
I’ll start off with the biggest plan for 2008. It will be that I will be graduating from the University of Texas in the summer. What this means is that while school is on I know I will be posting less. With family, school, and hobby, it will be the last that takes the back seat first. However I did accomplish a lot last semester with hobby stuff so we will see how it goes. I think that video blogging might save my keester and alow me to do some more blogging.

My scratch building plans are going to include some Stompas, finishing my first Battle Wagon, making a second Battle Wagon, and detailing the Thunderbolt. I also really want to get to work on painting my Orks.

Finally, as long as there is going to be prize support for our tournaments in town I would like to try and bulk out my Nids and Orks with newer models by attending as many Tourneys as I can.

Well there you have it. Looks like an exciting year!
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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Video Blog From Dragon's Lair Tourney

This is my first attempt at video blogging. I understand that each clip is a bit short however they were made on the fly during the Dragon's Lair Tourney. Each clip is a per round basis and each one gives a quick synopsis about what was going on during the Tourney. Tell me what you think.

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sheet Styrene Unwrapped

After some feedback on the Thunderbolt WIP I thought that it would be useful to reveal some of my sheet styrene techniques. I teach better through showing rather than writing, so if this is too confusing please contact me and we can get together here in Austin and I will show off these secrets.

With any scratch building project you will always need plans and/ or scale patterns from which you will base your project. As I said in my WIP article I found the pattern for the Thunderbolt on the Table Top War website. However in time I will become more adventurous and turn out a Warlord Titan with plans, but until then I’m going to stick with the project at hand. For this entire project I used Evergreen sheet styrene products. Evergreen sheet styrene can be picked up at any Hobby Town, or your local hobby store. (If you live in Austin, TX try Kings Hobby.)

With any sheet styrene project always use plastic cement. It will give you a better bond and results. I have, in the past, used Zap-A-Gap on sheet styrene and have been severely disappointed. I suggest using Testors Model Master Cement, or LiquaWeld. Both are fine products that basically weld your plastic pieces together.

What helped the Thunderbolt turn out as well as it did was the most basic angle in any construction project: 90°. What I did was print the pattern out in paper and test fit the entire pattern. Since paper is cheap and easy to work with it gave me a good idea where I would find all of the areas where two sheets, or a fold, would make 90°.

Here is why: Once you have made a three sided box structure all of your other joins to that box will be made easier. On the Thunderbolt’s nose section I joined the 90° joints first which made all of the other joints fall in line. Also it is much easier to join squared up objects with each other than trying to fit individual sheets together

Since this pattern was originally designed as a card stock “tape and fold” project I utilized a thinner stock of sheet styrene so that I would have very little adjustments to make in the pattern. The thicker you go with sheet styrene the more adjustments you will have to make. For example the vertical stabilizer, wings, and elevators use a thicker stock of styrene than the rest of the aircraft. But since they were static pieces I could use a thicker sheet without affecting the overall pattern or build.

As for the “how to make 90°” I will explain with illustrations.

Our first illustration, I think, shows it fairly simply. If we were to use an Evergreen “L” bend strip we are able to quickly and easily obtain the desired 90°. First what you would do is glue the L bend with the side that will be mounting flush with the second sheet. After about a minute or so, when you glue has basically set, apply glue to your L Bend and sheet and mount flush with your other sheet. Now this isn’t the technique I used because I needed some rigidity to the joints, which gives us illustration two.

Illustration 2 and 3 is how I made the joins between the sheets. I used the machined edges of a rectangular rod to create my 90° joins. After that I clipped the lengths I needed with my handy spru cutter, and then I followed the steps for gluing like with Illustration 1.
Illustration 3 is how I made the tail section. The tail section had very few 90° joins so I scored the plastic lightly, enough that it would bend then I set the angle and then glued the piece to straddle the joint. Illustration 3 shows glue in the joint, which I had to do when the plastic bend would break. It did twice for me so you will find you will need to glue the join. With the technique you also need to be incredibly careful not to use too much glue because if there is too much glue in the empty space the drying glue will draw the thinned sheet plastic toward the structural member.

Ok well that does it for now. If you have any other questions post them here and I will try and answer them.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thunderbolt WIP

I was so excited about completeing the air frame of my Thunderbolt that I had to get these Pics up. The template I used was from Table Top War. These templates were more for paper, but with creativity and Evergreen Sheet Styrene I turned out the basic frame for my Thunderbolt. The materials ran about $10, which will allow me to do more than one project. (Before anyone extols the virtues of "For Sale" signs at The Home Depot; all I will say is that The Home Depot doesn't provide any helpful hints on scratch building models like the local train/ model shop.)

This is stage one. I still have gap filling, body work, and weapon systems to do. Overall I am happy with how this turned out since this is my second scratch built vehicle that I have ever done. Here are some more pics I hope you enjoy.

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