Monday, 27 July 2015

Mk IV Horus Heresy era PLASTIC Space Marines!

WOW... The rumours were true...

A Titan Story - Part 7

I've finally made some progress on painting the Titans...

Its only been two years...

Nothing like a tournament to get the motivation humming. 
I ended up going with Legio Crucius, or the Warmongers over Fire Wasps. Something a little different, plus the legion has sworn pacts of fealty to Imperial Fist and one or two other Space Marine Chapters... to be continued

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Pro's and Con's of Age of Sigmar

So I have been spending more than enough time mulling over the new Age of Sigmar. It has a lot going for it, but in saying that, it also has a lot not in its favour.

I have attempted to make a list of my personal pro's and cons as I weigh up investing in this new game, or look else where.

I post this in the hope it may help some other people decide, or even help me decide.

So first up, the models:

Very technically good sculpts are dynamic and simple to assemble
New ideas refresh the stale WHFB setting
High Fantasy setting as opposed to Low Fantasy enabling much more scope in design
Scale - larger models allow for easier painting and application of advanced techniques
Round bases allow better positioning of models and conversions
New Aesthetic and new Sigmar faction (my personal taste is it has grown on me)

Scale - new larger scale will make existing models look small by comparison
New models look to be more expensive per unit
Square bases and round bases mixed together look odd - will need to re-base old range eventually

Next up is the rules:

Simplified ruleset - no longer 150 pages to sift through for rules
Individual warscrolls - everything you need to use a unit in one place
Everything has new rules which should help make all things on a level playing field
More versatile formations - without ranks you can create squares, arrows, shield walls etc
Unrestricted movement means more terrain and more terrain influence

No points - the obvious one
No balancing system - balancing dosn't have to be just points. Think rare/core %
The dumbing down of the rules. There's simple, then there's dumb.
No more ranking of troops. It was and is a draw card for some.
Less tactical movement - charges in any direction and no facings hurt the game
No interaction between models - I don't care if you are the best swordsman in the world, I still hit you on 3's...

And last but not least, community:

Opportunity to grow the fantasy community
New players
Several of my 40k friends have been eyeing up AoS
Grumpy existing community - Much rage, many quit

Grumpy existing community - Much rage, many quit
Tournament scene is getting massive shake-up 
Most likely less players initially, time will tell us if player numbers increase.

This is just a brief list that I have come up with, and no doubt there are many more reasons to add.

In the end, my conclusions are the model range and scope of the "hobby" side has dramatically increased in its attraction. There is much more freedom and less requirement to paint up 40 or 50 executioners or Savage Orcs just to field a functional list. I find there are far more positives on in the hobby side of things than negatives, and am looking forward to an opportunity to model themed tables to suit the new expanded universe

On the rules front however, I am sadly disappointed. I like a challenging game and regularly play tournament games. I find to enjoy these games I need a structure to build under and have always shy'ed away from systems based on ambiguity (like panel/peer comp). The simplicity of the rules is a great concept, but the execution has a lot to be desired. The lack of model interaction is a real downside, and the absence of strategic moving is a major change. Sure there are some tactics that can be employed in the movement phase, but its reduced to gimick's like dragging neighboring units into combats and shield walls, the former more a result of poor rules writing. Its just too hard to organize a simple game let alone a tournament.

However there are many people/communities (including myself) that are revising the current rule set to make it more viable as a game.

But the community is the hardest one to judge. The NZ WHFB tournament scene has reacted poorly to the new game system, and it dose not yet seem to have made any inroads. In saying that, we are yet to see if new players will be attracted. 

So I am currently 50/50 about this game. Its a wait and see kinda deal atm.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

All your base belong to me - GW releases AoS bases

Games Workshop will be releasing all the odd shaped bases this weekend for pre-order that match up with my basing chart.

It includes:
45x75mm (46x75mm)
90x50mm (90x52mm)
32mm (100 pack)
25mm (100 pack)

I will be updating my chart to version 2 to include the specific sizes and change a few to more suitable bases specifically the 90x52mm size for previous Monstrous Cavalry models on 50x100

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Amazing new AoS scenery spotted

Somebody has their hands on some of the new unreleased scenery kits from Games Workshop for Age of Sigmar

The terrain and models so far for AoS have been outstanding. Now all we need is 2nd edition rules set to clean up the current mess...

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Latest Rumours and Pictures from Age of Sigmar

This weeks Age of Sigmar leaks look towards revealing some more of the lore...

So it is indeed the Great Horned Rat that has ascended to become a true fallen God

And the Prince of Chaos, He is missing, his throne left vacant...

I never trusted those Dwarfs. Greedy little buggers...
But aparently they finally get some sort of cavalry. They ride Lava Beasts now...

The contents page of this weeks AoS Campaign book.

And finally some pictures of the new scenery frames. Note how they are in frames, and not cut out, indicating they are cast by GW themselves and not the cheap China stuff


Monday, 13 July 2015

Age of Sigmar Base Conversion Chart completed

I have finished the first part of my attempt at trying to make a playable tournament system out of Age of Sigmar.

The following link has a base conversion chart from existing models range to GW standard round/oval bases. The intent here is to create a starting point for establishing a basing standard, as I believe any competitive tournament system will require the rules to be changed to measure from the bases (not the model)

You can find it here: Plastic Krak Age of Sigmar Base Conversion Chart

Please feel free to give feedback and let me know if there are any mistakes/issues with the document



NB: I'm aware some of these bases are not readily available yet (specifically the 70x105mm and 35x60mm), but no doubt as they are the newer types they will be made available from GW soon. 3rd party manufacturers are already producing scenic versions.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Proposed basing conversion chart

I thought I would post up the easy part of the WHFB to AoS conversion.
Here is the base sizing chart I have created as something to potentially be used in creating tournaments or even just transferring your old square bases to new rounds

The idea behind this is there is a standard table to convert square bases to the closest equivalent round bases manufactured by GW, and that a Hero model will use the next size up base to represent their influence on the battlefield. Moving forward, I anticipate there will be a standard rule that you will measure from the base, not the model.

I am currently working on the full conversion chart for the existing GW model range that has warscrolls. 

After that I have a draft rules errata to make AoS playable as a competitive game, and a points formula so there is at least a place to start from for purposes of balancing.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Mantic releases Kings of War version 2

Go check out the rules. They look ok, with movement similar to 7th edition but combat/shooting closer to AoS

The rules can be found here

The game is far more basic than what we are use to with 8th edition,with a regiment styled organisation instead of model, and far less customisation, but it is also streamlined and less ambiguous. 

There are currently 9 army lists released which can be found on this page

Mantic has the timing sorted, however I am not so sure it is a replacement for 8th edition, as the customisation is not there, nor some of the complexity

Friday, 10 July 2015

Getting past the Rage: Whats good about Age of Sigmar?

I know I may be coming across rather negative lately over Age of Sigmar, but to be fair, there is much valid criticism to be had over this new game. 

But I digress, and in the first sentence! This is going to be difficult... 

SO how about we take a quick look at what is good about this new game, and don't get me wrong, there are several good things about the Age of Sigmar if you overlook the rules.. done it again...

First lets look at the new models.

A new aesthetic has been introduced for the first new faction in Age of Sigmar. Many have labeled it as Space Marines in fantasy. Fair enough, but credit where credit is due. The models themselves are technically superb. They are simple to assemble, dynamic and characterful, all in a starter boxed set. They are simply put, the best starter models produced in any box set by Games Workshop to date. And they already have a reputation for producing the best plastic miniatures in the world. 
The style is a Greeko-Roman full body plate armour, something you would only ever find in a movie or a fantasy setting. The style is decisive and up until now a love it or hate it thing. Personally the more I look at them the more I like the sculpts. Its a matter of personal taste but those Prosecutors look amazing. 
The broad flat areas and the hard edges on the armour are a painters dream, allowing much greater "personality" to be applied to each individual model. 
There is also a lot of yawn, I mean Khorne stuff. As per usual. How about some Tzeentch stuff for a change (lol) ?
I think I am also one of few who think the increase in scale is a good thing, but that might have more to do with my eyesight being not as good as it use to be. 
There are some amazing paint jobs being posted on social media of the free miniature from White Dwarf, inspiring even

Round bases you say? I'm of the opinion it dosn't really matter. Square, round, dodecahedron... its all the same. What I can say is the models previewed so far look great on round bases. The extra room to pose or display the model is a hobbyists dream. There is a theme forming here...

Next up I think would be model count. Yup, I think its a positive that we have the ability to field less models than previous. Sure you could create small armies with 8th but it was always difficult for many races to make a 600 point spread without critically hamstringing your army. Lower model count also makes it more realistic to do multiple armies, and far far easier (cheaper) for new people to get into the game/hobby. Hell you currently don't even need much more than the starter box to have an effective force (at least, at the moment). When was the last time you could say that? No longer do I need to paint up units of 40 to make effective hoards of infantry (20 seams to be the new magic number for hoard bonus). 

Now I am going to say that there are some positives to the RULES here. They are not all terrible, well at least in the context of the rules themselves.
No more "10 from the back" !!!! this makes me so happy! Monster rules look good to, and I especially like the diminishing returns to be had as they get wounded. The high number of wounds models can achieve now compared to 8th is also great, In 8th, 6 wounds on a Bloodthirster made it necessary to tool them up to make them as survivable as possible (10 from the back!) but now with 14, they can take a few hits and still be viable, and are not overwhelming as they get diminishing returns as they take wounds.That's almost balance!
I also like the idea of "battleshock" tests in a way. It could get very messy managing fleeing units all over the place, and some 8th edition builds simply allowed no chance of being broken and/or fleeing at all, making the grind very difficult, and some match ups impossible! Now with the battleshock mechanic, attrition is no longer absolute. Models are removed piecemeal in a rather similar fashion to unstable in 8th. There are downsides to this however that's not for this post! There are a few other examples of rules for the better, and no doubt some more that will be revealed in the future.

And last but not least I would like to mention the realms in the perspective of the hobby side. The new background story of 9 realms to fight in leaves amazing scope for the future. I cannot wait to see what the realm of metal will look like on the table, or how about the realm of shadow? The scope for scenic base modelling, for display boards if tournaments survive the transition and the tables themselves is just incredible. Rules be damned this is the one thing which Age of Sigmar really has going for it. The combination of 9 realms and the larger individual basing makes this a hobbyists dream theater. Moving on from that the battlefields will look amazing. We have all ready seen the teasers of the new terrain which look superb, and putting them in the context of a board based on the realm of light for example. There are no limits. So if you are the creative sort, I can see more effort going into the setting of a fight than the models themselves.

So if you are not feeling this game from the rules perspective, then take a look at the hobby side. It could still be for you. I can see, moving forward, that potential tournaments will be scenario driven and have a larger hobby aspect to them than previous.

I haven't really mention much in the way of background story as to be honest, there is not a lot of it out there yet, and it would not be fair to prematurely judge it. I expect good things. If the art work is anything to go by!

Don't worry, I'll be back in full swing in the next few days and I will post my first draft of "fixing" the rules. 

WD 77 cover leaked already

Looks like we get the new lord and his pet Demigriff

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Slannesh is DEAD. A moment of Silence please

The latest information to be coming from Age of Sigmar is Tyrion, Warrior-God of the Aelf, has captured/destroyed Slannesh.

Taking the Prince of Pleasures place, a new Chaos God, this time one more soccer mum friendly...

40K your next...

Cause you know, smashing peoples skulls in is more PC than boobs...

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

This weeks White Dwarf & AoS release pictures

We have picture from the latest White Dwarf. Unfortunately they are in German, of which I read very little of.

This week we see themed dice cups, a hardcover AoS book which I assume to be the scenario/fluff/background plus the 4 pages of rules (BRB replacement) as well as a limited edition version. 

We also get the Lord model pictured above, as well as a box of 5 Stormcast Eternals with options to make the following:
shield and blade two blades hammer and shield two hammers 1 grandblade 1 grandhammer

Oh, and not a 40k model in sight...

Balancing Age of Sigmar for competitive play

Now that the dust has settled somewhat its time to really look at the new game from fresh eyes.

The one thing we can be sure of is Games Workshop is not interested in competitive play, thus the community will need to address the shortcomings of the Age of Sigmar rules to make them work. I also wouldn't hold your breath for a FAQ!

This of course will provoke untold RAW vs RAI conversation, but the reality is, the rule set is not solid and needs a peer review. And the list is long. The time for that argument is over.

However, this process is simpler than it has been in the past, as the player base only needs to review 4 pages, not 150! This enables us to re-write the whole thing a lot clearer and with little ambiguity. 

Now the only issue with doing this as it will not be considered "official", and therefore there will always be detractors, and will be unacceptable by some. That is ok, as I expect any review/re-write to be aimed more as part of a player pack for a tournament. Think ETC or even Swedish comp systems.

So some of the game mechanics and rules that I think need fixing and/or clarifying.

  • Bases - Moving forward a chart will need to be created to standardize base size (both square and round) for any competitive play. All measurements will need to be made from the base. The ETC chart is a good place to start.
  • Spells and abilities - I think a move to "a model must be present at the beginning of the phase" to be able to use their spells and abilities in the command phase. This is to stop the endless summon cycle or the special command bomb drop.
  • Shooting - Models cannot be shot at in combat - period (includes spells) and models may not shoot if engaged in combat.
  • Removal of all the silly antics that GW has felt need to be in the rules for people to have fun. We all know how to be clowns on our own merit and it adds nothing to an enjoyable game. The model shall just have those rules on a roll or X+
  • The keywords in all warscrolls allow us to easily group units for specific rules and limitations. This needs to be taken advantage of.
  • Introduce cover mechanics. In previous editions we used modifiers to hit targets with ranged weapons. We have the opportunity to look at this differently now that the mechanics have been simplified. I think a bonus to save will work better now. So, for example, if a unit was shot in soft cover, they would receive a +1 to their save. A unit in a building would receive a +2 to save. Its nice and simple and will allow terrain and buildings to play a part in the game.
  • Actually include some rules for moving and or fighting in buildings!
  • Look at a simplified line of sight system to suit the simplified rules. True line of sight leaves to much ambiguity.
Then there is the general clarifications to the rules themselves such as who gets summoning spells or how multiple wounds are handled. There are a few rules that have multiple interpretations, and it wont be difficult to fix.

I personally would like to see an alternating turn introduced so that it engages both players in the same turn and introduces a more tactical approach in the other phases besides the combat phase.

And finally, a army selection system will need to be created. This will most likely be the most difficult. Many people are suggesting a wound based system, but that in itself will not work. Not all wounds are created equal.

I have some ideas around a tournament based on scenarios. Each player in the tournament would select X war scrolls to bring to the tournament. These would be the available units to the player for the entire tournament. They would also decide what summoning spells a player will get. Each round in the tournament is a specific scenario. The scenario would set win conditions (and even secondary conditions) to achieve whilst also setting scroll limitations for that game eg 

  • Scenario "Kill stuff" would allow you to select 7 warscrolls to field in this scenario. They may be chosen as follows: 1 Hero, 1-3 monster, 0 war machine, and 2-5 troop scrolls.
The victory conditions might be to kill the opponents general (primary) and kill a monster (secondary). Basic stuff but you get the idea. Scenarios could be made very interesting and killing things could become entirely secondary in some.

Now there would need to be some limitations of warscrolls (which could be wounds based) or the total army to ensure that things like the goblins have a fair chance vs the sigmarites.

So in summary I think the above could be what some of us are looking for and a way to salvage Age of Sigmar/Warhammer for those of us who want a more balanced and/or competitive experience to amuse us. Out of the book AoS is not an option...