Wednesday, September 14, 2016

40K Addict Hobby Season Review 2015/16 and Plans for 2016/17

I know I've somewhat missed the start of the hobby season but I'm on holiday at the moment and have had a busy few weeks. My rekindled love for X wing has meant that I've not done anything since the hobby season kicked off anyway. Irritatingly the WiFi in our holiday house doesn't allow access to sites in the "Gaming" category. This means no browsing of online hobby shops and no access to 40K blogs. Fortunately Feedly lets me bypass it but I'm not able to get the logos from Dave's blog (40K addict). Strangely I can access my own blog but not Dave's. Maybe TalkTalk "HomeSafe" considers Dave's blog to be more threatening or, perhaps more accurately, actually about gaming unlike mine which barely gets any love at the moment.  I'll update this post with the logos when I get home or if I can persuade my phone to find enough signal to set up a WiFi hotspot. Anyway, I digress (as per usual).

So, way back at the start of the 2015/16 season I was working on my Tau army for a mini tournament we were planning at Warhammer World. I made a decent start on the units was planning on using. They all got panel lines, transfers and general tidying up but nothing got the stage of being what Dave would call "To Done". It was good to make the army look better but I'm frustrated that I still don't have a single Tau model that I'd say was finished. Staying with the Tau, I've been trying to get my Stormsurge painted. As ever, this was motivated by an upcoming tournament in the shape of Hero for a Day. Sadly, I realised that I wouldn't actually be able to make it and nearly instantly my motivation to paint the Stormsurge ebbed. 

I feel incredibly guilty for the lack of progress because you may remember the Stormsurge (along with the latest Tau codex) was a gift from the Blog Wars faithful after BWX. I feel like I'm letting those guys down by not painting it. That throws up my first target for this coming season:
  • Make my Stormsurge my first ever finished Tau model
That means, fully painted (including highlights and sept markings), transfers, good quality basing and varnished (never done that before). I would love to think that I'll at least get this one done. I've got just under a year after all!! Granted I've not got the tournament motivation but even so, I'd be depressed if I'm sat here next year without a finished Tau model! Hopefully more! 

Imperial Knights
These were one of the things on my list that I actually got done. Well, I say done. That's such a mythical thing for me. I never actually finish any of my models. I originally planned on getting my first knight finished before completing the other three but I abandoned the first one and started two more from scratch. I learned a lot about the process of magnetising and painting these guys. They were my first proper outing into airbrushing and again I learned a lot. I've dabbled with the airbrush before but mostly for basecoating. This was the first time I've done masking etc. I really don't think I could've gotten the orange to look so smooth with a brush. Anyway, as I've already said, I still don't have a fully finished knight so I'd like to do some highlighting and weathering on the two you see here plus work on the other two:
  • Highlight, weather and varnish the first two knights
  • Finish the original knight to give me a full court of three
  • Build and paint the final knight as a freeblade
I have to say these fellas were one of my favourite painting projects so doing more work on them and finishing the other two should be one of the more pleasurable things I've done.

Right Siph (James) and Jamie, get your abuse out of your system now. This is STILL on my todo list. I've made some minimal progress towards this but I really must get it done this year. I can't actually believe that I've been talking about this for years now and still haven't got a full table of painted scenery. It literally takes not time at all to do and would make such a big difference to the level of immersion in our games. Granted I've barely played any games of 40K on my table this year but, if for no other reason than pride, I've got to get the winter scenery finished this season and ideally by the end of the year. There's literally no excuse now. I'm fed up of even blogging about it!
  • Complete a full complement of winter scenery for my gaming table. 
  • Begin work on the desert table
Space Wolves
I'm hoping to take Space Wolves to Fluffageddon in November. Before then they need a bit of love. I've come up with a list that I'm reasonably happy with. It certainly isn't the most powerful I could come up with but it should be fun to use. One of the things I'll need is a venerable dread. He's currently assembled (well sub-assembled) but not even primed. For the rest I'd like to improve them before the event. This is important because it'll be the first time in ages that I can enter something into a painting competition! Let's be fair, I've no chance of winning but if I get at least one vote I'll be happy! Here's what I think I need to do:
  • Paint the Venerable Dreadnought
  • Pack and company markings on all of the infantry
  • More gold work on the armour - some of the bits that should be gold aren't painted
  • Weather the vehicles
  • Faces! 
  • Basing
There's other bits and pieces that need doing to them but given there's less than a couple of months to go, I'll be luck to get even half of this stuff done.

Everything Else!
There's a few models that catch my eye every time I open the cupboard where my armies live. For example, my Ork Morkanaut, DE Grotesques, Tau Crisis teams, Space Wolf Stormwolf, Dark Angels bikers, etc. These are the models that I wish were finished. The key to this I think is a new attitude to painting that I'm hoping to adopt. Embrace the Butterfly!! 

As I've said above, I generally get the most done when I'm working to a tournament deadline. The problem with this is that because I know they have to be finished, I tend to get sick of looking at them by the time the tournament comes around. At that point, the painting becomes a chore rather than a hobby. I already have a job, why would I make what should be a relaxing escape into something that gets me down. This is where Embrace the Butterfly comes in. If I fancy painting my Morkanaut, I'm going to pick it up and get to work. If I get bored and want to paint some Dark Eldar I'll pick them up and work on them. Sounds simple but it's something I've tried to avoid doing in the past. 

I've always felt that by batch painting units I'll get more done. In practice though I burn out halfway through the project. The result is a cupboard full of three colour models but nothing finished. Obviously, for this bit I'm not going to make an itemised to do list. That would kind of defeat the point. I'm just going to simply say:
  • After Fluffageddon, complete a unit a month. 
This means fully painted, based and varnished. This could be a full squad, single HQ / MC or a vehicle. Whatever the case, there might be months when I get nothing finished and others where several are finished. It's going to be a random process but hopefully a more productive one in the end.

Finally, THE MAN CAVE!
A big chunk of Dave's season was taken up with building his new shed in the garden that has now been made into his Man Cave. Mine won't be a shed but instead will be a conversion of the back half of the garage. I'll post full plans (I've done scale drawings) nearer the time but the idea is that from the front it'll still look like a garage. I've seen people put windows or french doors on the front but I'd prefer to keep the look of the garage because a) I think it helps with resale (if it ever comes to it) and b) it disguises the fact that there's something in there other than gardening equipment and tools. Speaking of which, the existing garage door will open and the front will still function as storage for tools, lawn mower, etc.

The back end will get a window knocked through to give some much needed natural light. It'll then need a partition wall, floor, ceiling and insulated outer walls. Once the room has been created I'm going to create a collapsible gaming table that can be hung on the wall when not in use to allow me to use the room for other things. Anyway, the aim is to free up my current gaming room for use as my son's bedroom now that he's starting to outgrow the nursery. For this reason the project has the (almost) complete support of my wife!

That's more than enough text for one evening so I'll leave you with a summary todo list:
  • Make my Stormsurge my first ever finished Tau model
  • Highlight, weather and varnish the first two Imperial Knights
  • Finish the original Imperial Knight to give me a full court of three
  • Build and paint the final Imperial Knight as a freeblade
  • Complete a full complement of winter scenery for my gaming table. 
  • Begin work on the desert table
  • Paint the SW venerable dreadnought
  • Pack and company markings on all of the SW infantry
  • More gold work on the SW armour
  • Weather the SW vehicles
  • Faces on SW infantry 
  • Basing of all of the SW models for Fluffageddon
  • After Fluffageddon, complete a unit a month. 
  • Create the Man Cave!
Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

First Attempt at a Scum List for X-wing

I've been tempted to pick up some Scum stuff for X-wing since it first came out. Back then I was still trying to collect all the Rebel stuff though but I knew I'd cave eventually. Sure enough, after the singles event I decided I needed Autothrusters in my life and decided to grab a StarViper expansion. I thought it seemed daft just to get a single Scum ship that I couldn't use with anything else. Obviously I'd get the cards but most of the stuff in the box would be a waste. I decided it was only sensible to pick up Most Wanted too.

I thought I'd post to see what I can come up with from ships/cards I own. I don't own a Firespray. Matt does but I want to try and stick to stuff I have. May as well try to use the StarViper since that started me down this path. The Most Wanted pack gives me two Z-95s and a Y-wing. I already own a Rebel Y-wing and two more Zs. You also get pilots for the HWK which I own. So in total I've got four Z-95s, two Y-wings, a HWK and the StarViper. Obviously there are better Scum ships out there but I'd rather not go too mad at this point. I don't get to play often enough to justify buying much more at the moment. Maybe if I start going to more events I will.

So here's what I'm thinking and why:

Guri (30), Predator (3), Autothrusters (2), Virago (1), Advanced Sensors (3), Inertial Dampeners (1)

I see Guri as a pretty good arc-dodger. Having Boost and Barrel Roll already is a nice combo and although she's only got 1 shield and 4 hull the 3 evades will mean she's pretty durable. Most of the time you should be able to avoid arcs and having Advanced Sensors and Inertial Dampeners means her moves should be pretty unpredictable. The main issue with her arc-dodging though is that she's not got very high PS. Still Autothrusters should help quite a bit.

Palob (20), Opportunist (4), Blaster Turret (4), K4 Security Droid (3), Moldy Crow (3)

Being able to steal a Focus token and then use Opportunist seemed like too good of an opportunity (pun intended) to pass up. This combines well with K4 as a green will needed to remove stress from Opportunist. By focusing in the early turns, and holding onto them with Moldy Crow, Palob will have plenty of focus for attack and defence. That makes Blaster Turret a viable option and it's range complements the pilot ability.

Syndicate Thug (18), Twin Laser Turret (6), R4 Agromech (2)

Nothing complicated here. Try to stay at range 2-3 and keep chipping away at things. The R4 means you can spend Focus on the first shot and then use Target Lock for the second. Should do damage pretty reliably.

With the possible exception of the Y-wing, these ships aren't particularly durable. Guri would be pretty durable if she had a higher PS but it should still be possible to avoid arcs simply by being unpredictable.

All of the ships have decent damage potential. I'm not going to be one-shotting anything but I can hopefully build up enough damage to take things down pretty quickly. Palob probably has be biggest damage potential but it's a little situational.

I'm looking forward to giving it a go and tweaking it though. If only I got to play this game more to test things out. Still, I'm pretty happy with this list in theory. I own all the cards I need for it except Opportunist which Matt has and since it'll most likely be him I play that's fine. It'd be nice to get Kavil or even Drea in there but I'd struggle to drop anything.

Inertial Dampeners was a last minute addition as it came in a 99pts. I know that it's tempting to keep at 99 and make a call on initiative but with relatively low pilot skill it's unlikely to matter and would be no use if my opponent was 99 too.

What do you guys think?

Sunday, September 04, 2016

X-Wing Doubles Tournament Report - Sanctuary Gaming

IX-wing tournament which was also at the Sanctuary. Once again Darren and Andy were in attendance and with Dave Ellis (who used to work at the Outpost) running the event it felt like a pretty friendly atmosphere from the off. As ever I took along Matt as my partner. We've played a lot of doubles events in 40K over the years so we know we work well together and were hoping this would transfer into X-wing. The tournament required each player to bring 100pts each (i.e. not just 200 for the team). We'd had some practice games pitting his best Imperial list against my best Rebel list and we decided that his list gave us the best chance:
t'd only been a week since my last

200pt Imperial Aces
Commander Oicunn (42), Expose (4), Experimental Interface (3), Ysanne Isard (4), Emperor Palpatine (8)
Whisper (32), Veteran Instincts (1), Advanced Cloaking Device (4), Tactician (2)

Darth Vader (29), Twin Ion Engine Mk. II (1), TIE/x1 (0), Advanced Targeting Computer (1)
Countess Ryad (34), Push The Limit (3), Twin Ion Engine Mk. II (1), TIE/x7 (-2)
Delta Squadron Pilot (30), Ion Cannon (3), TIE/D (0)

The general idea was to try and have ships that put out a lot of damage for their points. Oicunn can be brutal with Expose and Target Lock at range 1. Whisper is, well, Whisper but with Tactician for a bit of stress. Darth has the ATC so that he's nearly always adding a crit. Ryad and the other Defender are generally good for being able to white K-turn to keep damage coming and the Delta's ion cannon helps with that or might help something bump into Oicunn if the situation arises.

Game 1 vs. 4 Jumps and Palob
We'd been worried about facing Scum lists because we've only ever played them at tournaments and that was well over a year ago. Neither of us have ever faced Jumpmasters but I knew from reading Luke's blog that they're pretty tasty. Our first game gave us a baptism of fire then with four of the things. One half was what is apparently called Dengaroo and the other had a Scout. Tel and Palob in the Moldy Crow with TLT. Our lack of knowledge of most of their list was a bit of a worry going into this!

One thing I did know was that they prefer to turn left so we sent the Decimator blasting up the field to try and get behind them and force them to be making right turns to engage us. We'd baited them with our PS1 Defender on the opposite side. Sadly he was the first to be targeted by Dengar who scored four hits. We were fairly confident we wouldn't take much damage until Matt completely blanked on the green dice! Meanwhile we took Palob into structure early on but my first rolls with Whisper and Oicunn were poor so he clung on which would prove to haunt us.

Our opponents had clearly prioritised the Decimator so started piling hits onto it. With the first damage card being dealt face up they decided to take away the Emperor with Boba Fett too! Ouch! Thinking about it now that was probably pretty decisive. Anyway, it wasn't long before we lost the Delta but by now the Scout and Tel had some damage. Dengar was keeping his distance which suited us fine. We weren't interesting in shooting him at this point anyway. It wasn't long before Oicunn and Ryad finished off the Scout but I'd put Whisper into Dengar's range (I was frankly still getting used to using her at this point having been reminded several times to Cloak/Recloak when I'd forgotten).

I made this mistake of evading near Palob just before I was going to shoot him (her?) and therefore caused less damage than I'd have liked. In the next turn Palob had already bolted so I was set up to finish off Manaroo with a range 1 Expose shot but Dengar had other ideas. He managed to cause to take Oicunn down to just two hull remaining (the guy controlling him hadn't rolled anything but hits/crits so far - seriously!?!). Palob's TLT then took the remaining hull destroying Oicunn before he could fire.

We were now way behind so our best shot was to try and finish off the two damaged Jumps and continue to ignore Dengar. Darth took on Tel whilst Ryad went after Manaroo. Both succeeded but we were now running out of time in the round (mostly thanks to us not knowing what we're doing). We hadn't kept a track of current points so didn't realise we could win if we killed Palob. In fact, we thought were were already in the lead but didn't know how much Dengar was! We therefore bolted with both Darth and Ryad and by the time we realised we needed to hit Palob he was out of range and time ran out. Frustratingly we lost the game 111-133.

Game 2 vs. Imperial Aces
We were both pleased to be facing Andy Lane and his partner Chris. We've known Andy a while through 40K so it was good to be playing him (I don't think I ever did in 40K though?!?). Anyway, their list featured Ryad, Vessery, Darth, Inquisitor, Soontir and an Omega. No Palp though!

They deployed a lot of their stuff sideways so that they could respond to what we did (apparently anyway, we thought it seemed like nonsense). Still, we ended up with a pile up in the middle of the board pretty quickly. Apologies for the lack of pictures, I forgot for the first few rounds. They ganged up on Darth from the start but We'd put some heavy damage on the Inquisitor but they blasted him away as soon as possible. We drove Oicunn into Vessery leaving him with a single hull point. We followed up with an ion hit that meant he'd definitely die next turn if we could bump again which we did. We also managed to finish off the Inquisitor with the Defenders. Unfortunately, all that staying still had left the Decimator exposed to fire from Ryad and the Omega Leader which was eventually enough to finish him off.

We then managed to line up Soontir with both defenders and Whisper. Somehow he managed to surive the onslaught but at the expense of his cloak and shield. He was stressed too so we lined him up again and finished him off. We thought we now had a slim lead so we wanted to kill off another ship to make sure. With time running out we'd managed to line their Ryad up with a shot from Whisper and the Delta. Whisper's attack bounced off his triple evade roll but the defender could still do it. The ion cannon failed to hit though and the main guns couldn't then finish the job. The timer ran out and to our surprise we found out we'd actually won 101-92.

Game 3 vs. Double Brobots
We'd both played Brobots in a singles event early last year but feared we might come up against all four in this event. I was surprised it happened in the last round though as we expected to be near the bottom. If we'd won this game our MOV meant we could've placed in the top 3 if we got a decent enough win. Can't say we felt especially confident given what we were facing but I'd played both of our opponents in the last event separately and beaten one of them so I thought it was at least possible.

We deployed in diagonally opposite corners. We'd planned on heading towards the opposite edge to get behind them but a combination of asteroids and poor move planning meant we ended up meeting them nearly head on which didn't do Darth any favours. Again, I haven't got many photos of the early parts of this battle. Darth limped through but it wasn't long until he became the first casualty.

We were doing fine, slowly putting damage onto a couple of the IGs but then we had probably the worst turn of X-wing either of us has ever had. We'd planned our moves but then questioned whether we'd bump. We switched the dial on the Decimator but didn't then readjust the Defender dials to compensate. This resulted in bumps for both of them (and the Decimator but that was intentional). Worse still, I'd misjudged Whisper's decloak meaning she actually couldn't at all. Wouldn't have been a problem but I hadn't planned for it so she piled straight into a debris fielding causing stress, no focus and leaving her in arc of two of the IGs. She'd already taken heavy damage in the turn before so this sounded the death knell. The Delta wasn't far behind leaving us two ships to take on all four of theirs. Killing our ships also gave a shield back to one of the IGs.

All wasn't quite lost yet though. The combination of Oicunn and Ryad was worth a chunk of points so if we could keep Oicunn from going below half and destroy two of the IGs (or some combination of destroying/half damaging). Wouldn't be enough to make the top 3 but at least we go out with a winning record. The dice just weren't on our side though. We kept bumping with Oicunn but sadly not on the one we'd have like to hit. We struggled to line both ships up on one target since there were a lot of bumps going on. Eventually Ryad bought it and the game was out of our reach. Oicunn simple couldn't avoid the damage. He took down an IG but his death was inevitable.

At this point I should've simply flown off the board but I'm not prepared to do that when it doesn't really matter. This meant one of the IGs got a shield back from killing Oicunn, pushing it above half and costing us 25pts on our MOV. Our opponents found this pretty funny but we really didn't care.

That gave us a 50-200 loss and, by my reckoning an MOV of -163. I think that equated to 7th out of ten teams. Bit of a disappointment when we could've placed but we'd done better than we expected.

Well, the first game was easily our favourite. We quickly found our feet and it basically came down to a single roll of the dice not going our way early on. If Palob had gone down we'd have most likely won sooner. It was helped by Manaroo bumping on about three turns in a row but one of our opponents only started rolling anything but hits on the last turn or two. Granted when it came it was a four blank roll but it was long overdue by then. Just one poor roll earlier on and Oicunn would've been alive to finish off Palob or Manaroo. No point dwelling on what if though. The key problems were that I hadn't gotten used to placing Whisper meaning she died prematurely and that we hadn't realised how close the scores were.

The second game could've been a lot more fun than it ended up being. In our opinion at least, our opponents were over discussing everything. I don't mean this in a horrible way and I've known Andy a while so I mean him no disrespect. It just meant that the game felt like it was dragging and it took ages to get any ships off the board. We played it pretty well though and kept them guessing with some of our moves. I don't think we'd thought about Oicunn bumping or else got to a point where they couldn't avoid it. Granted we basically traded Oicunn for Vessery in the end but it was an opportunity for guaranteed damage we couldn't pass up. Always nice to win a close game though and gave us the win we'd hoped for at the start of the day.

The last game was a pretty dull affair to be honest. Obviously losing is never fun but we felt like we didn't know the list well enough to know how to pick it apart. I think it basically game down to the one horrendous round we had as well which doesn't help. If Whisper had been decloaked we'd have probably taken an IG down sooner and therefore turned the tables a bit. Ultimately I need to learn to think a couple of turns ahead with her but I'll probably not play with her again for months now. I've never actually used an Empire list barring the odd time with the starter set so Whisper and Oicunn were deemed to be the easiest to use by Matt. My lack of practice with them was probably an issue throughout.

We were pretty happy with our list. I reckon Oicunn could've been loaded out slightly better to make more use of the ramming and Darth needed Adaptability really (we don't actually own the card though). We'll have hopefully played some more before the next event and I'll own more sets so we should have all the cards we need.

One final thing, the organisers were running a background competition to win the coin which meant each individual player chose a named pilot and kept track of their kills. The pilot with the most points destroyed won. Oicunn only got me 85pts and Matt chose Darth. Not sure how many points he got but I know that Ryad got significantly more. Still, we both got an alternative art Predator card which was a nice bonus. We may not have enjoyed the final game but at least we got to learn more about Scum. I'll be collecting them anyway but it's good to play against them. No more tournaments planned for now but we'll be on the look out!


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