Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GW Doubles - They still don't seem to get it!

I'm hopefully going to the 40K doubles event in September. The event in February was great fun, Matt and I had some awesome games and met some great people. At the end of the event the staff handed out feedback forms with a view to improving future events. The general consensus from the people I talked to was that the event could be improved in three significant ways:
a) Scrap the stupid allies matrix which penalises any combination that doesn't involve double marines (pretty much)
b) Make the event a bit more value for money i.e. have some prizes not just crappy certificates
c) Don't change anything else because it works the way it is!

So in order to address these issues GW have scrapped the previous allies matrix and replaced it with one that actually makes it.....WORSE! Now if you don't take double space marines you get screwed in several different ways depending on a random selection of cards! Here was me thinking GW did away with cards back in 3rd edition! Matt and I were hoping to move away from the power armour and try something a little different in the form of Orks & Tau. Now don't get me wrong I can see that from a fluff point of view it's unlikely that these two races would ally together but it'd certainly be fun. Under this system we'd be forced to draw three cards at the start of the game. These could either give us -1Ld (or more since it's cumulative), -1 initiative, night fighting for the first turn, re-roll successful shooting hits for first turn, move through difficult  terrain for the first turn or some other such nonsense. I mean potentially you could end up with -3Ld for the entire game which isn't going to do any army any favours.

The principal of the matrix is fine but only if everyone wants to play marines. Frankly, I'm getting tired of fighting the same armies all the time. Anyway, suffice to say we won't be risking the Orks-Tau alliance and instead will be reverting to BA/SW again. Not exciting, not original but a damn sight easier than worrying about what penalties will beset our army. GW even have the audacity to award people a point at the end of each game if they've provided a background as to why these armies have allied. The old system meant that some of the more plausible alliances were possible but they'd suffer -1Ld.

Seriously GW, we know that you like power armour. However, wouldn't you like to sell some more boxes of those other armies? You're not encouraging me to buy a new army when I'd get penalised for using it at one of your own tournaments! I'd love to take my newly started DE army but anything they ally with will result in penalties, except Necrons?!?!!

Anyway, onto point (b) the tickets have only gone up by £2 per team at £87 to February's £85. However, in the spirit of GW screwing you this quarter they've now made it 5 games instead of 6! Now I understand people want to get off early on the Sunday but frankly if you can't play 6 games then don't buy a ticket! It's only a couple more hours for God's sake. Not only that but they've ignored the pleas for actual prizes and have actually reduced the number of awards they're giving out!

On the keeping things the same for simplicity they've decided sod that let's invent 5 brand new scenarios for people to try out. Now I could be accused of being mardy here but although the rulebook missions are getting tired at least you know where you stand with them. There's going to be 5 totally different scenarios which, although fun, will result in complicated setups that will spoil the flow of the weekend. For those of us that don't play as regularly as we'd like I doubt we'll even get chance to test them all out enough before then.

They're also going to make it 2x875pts for a combined 1,750 army. Now I'm not against this but they've also said they're making it 2hr 30min games. Again, not a problem, except for the fact that on their schedule they've listed them as 2hr 15min in a classic display of GW copy and pasting from their old tournament guide.

Speaking of which I'm convinced they never proof read anything since throughout the guide it says "role a D6". Oh and Imperial Guard appear on the allies chart twice with no real explanation!

I don't usually like to rant about things and I normally actually play devil's advocate with these things and say "well the new scenarios will at least prevent the same old armies showing up". However, when they consistently seem to get it wrong it's no wonder there are more and more independent tournaments showing up offering better value for money, better prizes and generally more fun!

Having said that I'm still going to go but I'll be using Space Wolves ironically!! :P

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blog Wars II: Battle of the Bloggers - Possible Dates

Just heard back from Maelstrom about possible dates for Blog Wars II. I decided to try and make it a bi-annual tournament as I think once a year is too little and, as some people have suggested, if I made it more regular then it would be more like a club night than an event.

I've provisionally booked in for Saturday 17th December 2011 but the 3rd December is a possibility. In addition the Sundays are also available that weekend so we have the oppportunity to make it into a weekender if people would prefer that? It really depends on how much interest there is this time round. If there's the same number as last time then I think there'd be too many match-up clashes over a 5/6 game weekend.

Anyway, I've put a poll up on the right hand side and I'd be grateful if you could vote for which date you'd prefer as well as commenting about why you voted how you did. I'll try and do a mail shot later today so that people know the poll is there but if you could spread the word that'd be great. 

Just for reference, there are no dates available in Nov/Jan so if there's little interest in making it December then I might just try again later in the new year. I'll try and get a new page started for Blog Wars II (with a new logo I promise) once I get chance but for now we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eldar Units for Sale

Just throwing up a quick post to say that I'll be listing my entire Eldar force over the next couple of hours. Most of the models are just basecoated but a couple of the units (Fire Dragons & Dark Reapers) are quite nicely painted. Shameless plug I know but it can't hurt!

Selling them off to fund my turn to the dark side of the Eldar. They all start at 99p so there's potential for a bargain which is much needed in these post price rise and finecast days...

If you're interested:

Proper content later this week I promise!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The worst army list ever?!?!

A Tau player came 3rd at Blog Wars. Think about that sentence. It isn't one you're likely to hear very often. Now don't get me wrong, as a Tau player myself I know what they can do to the unsuspecting. However, thanks to an outdated codex they usually struggle in a tournament setting. I accept Blog Wars wasn't your usual tournament (that was the idea!) but even so I was pleased to see the Tau do well.

It reminded me of a conversation Matt, Darren and I had in Bugman's after the doubles tournament back in February. We were saying that people who play the generic cheesy tournament lists that usually end up on the top tables should be made to play with something different in future tournaments. Obviously I was feeling a little bitter at the time but it ended up being a funny conversation about which codex offered the very worst, legal, army list that you could enter into a tournament. The idea being that no matter how well you played, how good your rolls were or how bad your opponent was, you'd have no chance of winning. After a brief discussion about grot armies etc. we came to the conclusion that only Tau could do it a truly awful list. This is largely down to the fact that technically battlesuits don't even need to have weapons! The only condition is that you have to select something from each FOC slot. Here's what we came up with:

1,748 pts of Tau - Blinding Light
Shas'o Commanders w/ multi-tracker, shield generator & target lock plus bonding knife, drone controller and 2 marker drones each
2 Crisis Bodyguard w/ shield generator, target lock & targeting array plus bonding knife, drone controller, a marker drone each and hard-wired multitracker
Shas'o Commanders w/ multi-tracker, shield generator & target lock plus bonding knife, drone controller and 2 marker drones each
2 Crisis Bodyguard w/ shield generator, target lock & targeting array plus bonding knife, drone controller, a marker drone each and hard-wired multitracker

3-man Crisis team w/ multi-tracker, targeting array, target lock and team leader shas'vre w/ marker drone
3-man Crisis team w/ multi-tracker, targeting array, target lock and team leader shas'vre w/ marker drone
3-man Crisis team w/ multi-tracker, targeting array, target lock and team leader shas'vre w/ marker drone

6 Fire Warriors w/ photon & EMP grenades plus team leader with marker light, bonding knife & marker drones
10 Kroot w/ Krootox rider & shaper

4 Gun drones

1 Sniper drone team

Basically, we didn't want to give them anything that might be decent. If we could've had more suits to eat up the points then we would have! All of the crisis teams would hit with unerring accuracy if it weren't for the fact they don't have any guns! There's tons of upgrades on all the suits that just waste points. The kroot are only there to make it a legal army and we decided that the Krootox Rider and Shaper were just too crap to pass up!

The gun drones make a nice fast attack choice because they'll be easy to deal with. The only difficult choice was heavy support because most of the options here are pretty good. However, the sniper drone teams puts out the minimum amount of fire from all of them so it made it in.

Imagine showing up to a tournament and your opponent unpacking all these beautifully painted battlesuits and then handing you that army list with a big grin on his face! You shrug and wonder if there's some master plan afoot. He places his army, you place yours. Then he advances towards you (strange for Tau) and blinds you with a crapload of markerlight shots! The sniper drone team has a go but will only kill a couple if it's lucky. Everything else is rapid fire so won't be hitting you after moving. On your turn you focus your fire on the fire warriors, kroot and sniper drones and probably have enough to finish them off.

The only difficulty is that the battlesuits will hold on pretty well in combat with their S5 and 4++ saves. Mind you if you just avoid charging I'm sure you'll be able to whittle them down with some firepower!

Can anyone else come up with a worse army than we did? I defy you to try!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Blog Wars Painting Competition (pic heavy)

Thought I should throw up a few photos of the painting competition. Hopefully the guy who had an SLR has taken some better ones that I can put up at a later date but for how here's what I took: Let's start off with my favourite special character (apologies to Belial!). This is Draigo painted by Scott (but in Matt's army):
Here's more of Scott's work in the shape of his chaos army with his SC Abaddon in the foreground:
I really like the colour scheme of this Tau army:
 Wazdakka Gutsmek and his ork horde (not the tau looted wagon):
Here's some shots of Bully's (SoS) Belial (who won the SC painting competition) and the rest of the DA force:

Jamies from Index Astartes' Blood Angels:
 More Blood Angels (yellow ones!!) from Andy at Claws and Fists:
The winning Imperial Guard and Elysian armies:

And finally, a few more of the rest:

Sorry if I've missed your army out but sadly I didn't have time to get photos of them all. Hopefully once I receive some from other people I'll be able to post them up. Check out all the blogs listed on the Blog Wars page for more.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Did the Special Character thing work at Blog Wars?

Well from the feedback I've been getting it appears that it did. End of post. Good job. See you next week....

Seriously though, aside from it mainly being open to bloggers and their friends, what set Blog Wars apart from a lot of the other tournaments was that I required everyone to field a special character. Now initially there were a lot of groans and moans and "my codex has crap special characters" etc. Then we had "I'll just drop this unit and throw in a token SC to keep him happy". However, once people started to think about how including a certain character would affect their army they began to see that it wasn't that simple. You know I'm a big fan of SCs and I think that they add a different dimension to games. There are certainly better ones than others but for the most part they all have their uses. It comes down to how you use them. Take the winning army, Andy's Dark Eldar, led by Baron Sathonyx. If Andy had just thrown in a 5 man Hellion gang and attached the Baron then he'd have had a fair amount of success but Andy actually put some thought into his army and it really paid off.

By including a massive gang of Hellions (20 of them) but also including wracks and an haemonculus Andy was able to use the Baron to full effect. Not only did that make a massive troops unit that would be difficult to deal with (and must be dealt with because it's scoring) but also the pain tokens from the wracks/haemo meant it would be an even harder task. Now don't get me wrong, Andy's list was definitely a tournament army thanks to the good old classic of MSU but at the same time it had character. I'm sure Andy will agree that it's a by no means perfect list but it proved itself on the day.

In my own list, which was significantly less successful, I had Ragnar and his unit as a centrepoint for all my battles. He was always in the middle of the field smashing face as he does best. Any opponent that knows about him will naturally want to stop him before he steamrolls their army. This means that my lone wolves, rhinos and speeder got a little overlooked. It's just a shame my rolling didn't let me use this to full effect.

Blog Wars 2: Battle of the Bloggers will definitely feature the same mandatory SC rule because I thought it worked and it seems like most of you did too. I quite like the xbox-style achievements for things like SC vs SC scraps etc but I think the difficulty here is that again I'd like to play so monitoring the scoring of the achievements would be difficult. It's all fine until a couple of people who know each other play and all of a sudden they seem to earn a lot of achievements in that particular game. 

Anyway, I'm going to keep that as the only condition of entry as I don't want it to get too complicated. Hopefully before the next one people will have had more time to play test and figure out which special character suits their play style best. I've already got plans....

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Next Blog Wars.....

It may seem premature to be thinking about the next Blog Wars when the first one is still fresh in everyone's mind but that's exactly why I want to do it now. If we can flesh out the next one and get an idea when we fancy doing it then I think we can make it even better. Based on the responses to the earlier post there's a few things I think I can improve on. I always (rather cheesily) said it was a tournament by bloggers for bloggers but the first one was more by blogger singular. The more feedback the better Blog Wars 2: Battle of the Bloggers (that's the name deal with it!) will be. Please try and respond to the questions in red.

1. Timing & Day
The idea behind 2hr 30min games was that people wouldn't feel so pressured to finish on time which would aid the friendlier feel of the tournament. As far as I'm concerned it worked pretty well. I don't think there were many games that needed the full time but also there weren't many that didn't get to a full compliment of turns be it 5, 6 or 7. The only issue with this is that 7pm was quite a late finish for a Sunday and it did make it a long day. There are two obvious solutions to this. Firstly, make it a Saturday and secondly shorten the games. I'm far more keen on the former than the latter! I know there were quite a few first timers at Blog Wars and perhaps some who hadn't played the game much so I'm keen not to alienate them by making it too much of a rush.

Therefore I'm not going to do a Sunday again if at all possible but I don't intend on changing the game length. The other thing I'd like to do (if a bit ambitious) is try a weekender with 5/6 games over a whole weekend. The wives and gfs might not like it though. However, if we all went to a pub in the evening (dunno if the Maelstrom bar opens late on a Saturday?) then the social side would improve.

How would people feel about this? Would you prefer shorter games? Were the breaks between games long enough? Would you be up for a full weekend?

2. Missions/Scenarios
I played a very enjoyable tournament (also at Maelstrom) that had slightly different missions and a different way of doing GPs. Basically it borrowed some of the 4th ed missions and the GPs were based on how successful you were at achieving them. For example in Cleanse (where you must control table quarters) you got 1 point if you won by 1 quarter, three for winning by two quarters and the full 5 for a tabling. The games were 1500pts and there were then 5 points for tabling the other army, 3 pts for over 1000pts margin and 1 point for less. That meant each game had 10 points available but requiring a tabling to achieve that. It really made people push to kill that last unit and there wasn't an annhiliation mission so that solved the KP issue. The only problem is that it means objectives might get ignored in favour of just going for the tabling but I guess that's the same whatever the mission.

The reason I went with the rulebook ones is that everyone knows them, it's less effort for me and there'd be no confusion about my wording in custom scenario descriptions. I've got a lot more time spare at the moment (since I'm never gonna plan another wedding) so I'd be quite up for coming up with some scenarios (or more likely stealing them from somewhere else).

Anyway, I think we're all agreed that the rulebook scenarios aren't much fun if you get crap combos like spearhead and c&c or dawn of war and..... anything DoW sucks! By avoiding these missions and probably anything using KPs I think we can make it more fun for all and reduce the risk of people playing the same opponents.

What scenarios do you guys like? Have you found any at other tournaments that worked well? Should there always be objectives with annhilation as a secondary mission? How should it be scored?

3. Number of Players
Not so much I can do about this because it's really down to you lot. What I will do is a lot more work on publicity for the event. I'll put it on Unseen Lerker again and mention it on a couple of forums. The downside to this is that we might attract the WAAC crowd. To this end I'll definitely keep the compulsory special character. I think most people saw what I was trying to do and embraced it. I think those that did had a lot more fun than those that threw one in last minute (maybe that's just me though?). I think it encourages as many as it puts off but I think the kind of people it attracts are the kind we want and vice versa. Special characters are what sets Blog Wars apart and I'd like to keep it that way.

The other option is that I just leave it to word of mouth (or word of blog at least) and plan it further in advance so there's more time for people to plan. I think if it's a Saturday then more people will show up too. That or a full weekend will make people feel a long journey is more worthwhile.

Word of mouth or forum spam? Keep it blogger only or open it up to anyone? How do you feel about the mandatory SC?

4.  Soft Scoring
I've never been a fan of points for "sportsmanship" or painting quality as I don't think it's ever likely to be honest when you're filling it out with your opponent stood at the other side of the table. It's a waste of time and doesn't really add anything so I'm keeping it out.

The painting competition was pretty good but I think it could've been better if I'd had some labels for each player making it easy to tell which army was which and also given people more time to set them up. Well that and actually bothering to mention they needed to set them up in the first place! I admit I'm a gamer before I'm a hobbyist but I still think it's an essential part of a tournament.

Does anyone out there actually like it? Could the painting comp be a bigger part? Should there be a sportsmanship award?

5. Prizes and Awards
I liked the categories for the awards as there weren't soo many that it became an "Everyone Gets a Trophy" day but I wish I'd put a bit more effort in here. I'll definitely make some certificates (if not trophies) for next time. The store credit I'll definitely produce vouchers for to make it easier afterwards but I'd like to keep it as a prize. It keeps the venue sweet too as you're spending cash while you're there. The discount also helps boost the prize money.

I liked the raffle but wasn't soo keen on the prizes. I'll put some more imagination into it next time. I've already got some ideas but I'll keep them under wraps for now. Suffice to say they're better than the finecast models people didn't want/need!

The ticket price I think was about right. Again, I wouldn't expect to make any cash. I was flattered that there was a whip round for me but it'd be like a restaurant including a service charge if I was to make it from ticket sales. I might, however, allocate a portion of the budget for "event supplies" so that I'm not out of pocket at least! I'm not sure the lunch was worth £7.50 but it wasn't bad, might discuss this with the venue and see what we can do. I'd rather more money went into prizes than catering but with more numbers we'd have more bargaining power.

Finally, I want to contact some companies and try and scrounge some free stuff, something I didn't get round to doing this time.

What sort of things do you want as prizes? Does the store credit thing work (if improved a little)? Were there too many/not enough prizes?

6. Other Bits and Pieces
The reason for two scorecards were in case (a) people lost there's i.e. you'd hope both hadn't lost them and/or (b) to ensure that both scores agreed in case anyone was trying to buff their scores. What didn't help was when BOTH people put the wrong thing making me look daft in the prize ceremony!!! What I will do is print them on thicker paper/card next time so they aren't so flimsy. Might even make them look a bit better!

I'll bring a better laptop next time so I can have the score on the big screen with perhaps some reminders of the scenario scoring system so that no-one can claim that's why they lost!

Name badges (read sticky labels) is something I though about but never got around to doing. I like the idea and I think it'll help Maelstrom out with the discount so they know people aren't just chancing it. The "Who's Who?" over lunch would have to be done by someone other than me since I won't have time if Sunday was anything to go by.

I think I ought to have a spectator ticket. There were a few guys who came just to watch which is fine but it'd be good for them to chuck in a few quid for the lunch (not sure if they helped themselves to buffet or not since I wasn't there long) but it couldn't hurt to offer the option. I'd hope the spectators this time would play next time anyway.

We set up the scenery in the morning. It's difficult to tell how good or bad it is until you start playing but I reckon the rule of thumb that it should cover 25% of the surface when packed together is a good one. Line of sight blocking is a good playing field leveller (well not literally) so it stays but perhaps only on half the tables or something.

A new logo. I can't tell you how sick I am of the thing. Looking back there's way too many posts with it on so I'm going to put some effort into making a better one. Watch this space!

Any ideas for improving the "meet and greet" side of the game? Would you feel stupid with a name badge? What could I change scenery-wise (if anything)? How was lunch?

There WILL be another Blog Wars I promise. It WILL be bigger and it WILL be better. The only question that remains is when? Sooner rather than later but I'm thinking Sept/Oct sort of time. Let me know what works for you and I'll try and go with the majority. I'm already looking forward to it and my mind is racing with ideas so trust me your ticket price will be worth it!

Monday, June 06, 2011

My Blog Wars Battles

As I mentioned yesterday my performance at Blog Wars was a little embarassing. Nonetheless I enjoyed all three games and learned a lot from the battles that I had. Here's a brief report of all three and what I took away from them.

Game One - Space Wolves vs. Orks (Darren - C&F)
So with one participant dropping out at the last minute we drafted in Darren from Claws and Fists and extremely short notice. He threw together an Ork list featuring Old Zogwort as his special character. We only started about 15 mins late which was good. The first game was Capture & Control with Spearhead deployment. Not one that traditionally makes for an exciting game. 

Darren deployed and went first keeping his deffkopta, grots, meganobz and warboss in reserve. He advanced his army towards me and had a pretty typically Orky round of shooting, managing to immobilise one of my rhinos. I piled my land raider forwards and proceded to hammer him with long fang fire. I scored 4 hits with frags on one squad picking off a good chunk of orks. The rune priest lined up a jaws attack which killed a shoota boy, power klaw nob AND Old Zogwort. I was only able to stun his looted wagon though which would prove crucial. Ragnar and co. got into combat on the first turn comfortably annihilating a mob but a whopping 1" consolidation move meant I was left a little stranded. After a promising start things started to go against me. 

Darren brought in his kommandos and unfortunately my long fangs held on meaning they'd be safely in combat in my turn. The stormboyz polished off a lone wolf and his warboss, mob and meganobz put out a flurry of power klaw attacks which made short work of Ragnar and his bodyguard pack. I was still feeling fairly confident as I had my land speeder in a good place to contest his objective and still had two grey hunter packs to pull back to claim mine. The rune priest tried to jaws 2 boyz, a PK nob and his warboss but all four passed their initiative tests!

Over the next couple of turns I killed off his stormboyz and kommandos and pulled a grey hunter squad back towards my objective. On the other side of the field I again failed to hurt his looted wagon and my land raider fell to power klaw attacks. Just before the final turn I lost my land speeder and with it any hope of contesting his objective. I desperately tried to pull back to my own objective but meganobz caught one squad and a looted wagon battle cannon shot found my other pack stranded. All three models failed their cover save and now my only hope for a draw was if my long fangs could make his grots (that had come on from reserve) run. Since they had a healthy cover save I could only manage to kill a couple and the game ended there 1-0. I only had a three long fangs left which mean Darren score 1,685 VPs to my 1,1170. 

Hoping to wipe out enough Orks with Ragnar meant that I wasn't too worried about my objective in the early stages. Ragnar didn't do as well as I'd hoped (partly because I forgot his Warrior Born attacks - despite Gav from C&F reminding me). I should've positioned myself closer and let him come to me firing at him all the time. My land speeder should've stayed in cover the entire time and only come out to contest at the last minute.

Game Two - Space Wolves vs. CSM (Rich - Cupboard of Nurgle)
I felt pretty confident facing CSM as I've played Scott's plenty of times and I feel like I know them quite well. Unfortunately, we got Dawn of War and Annihiliation. 

Thanks to the crappy deployment I struggled to find a good position for my long fangs. One squad was in cover but a bastion in the middle of the field gave them little fields of fire. The other squad ended up out in the open so they were hit hard by Rich's defiler which I struggled to take down, allowing it to survive til around turn 4. 

On my left flank Rich advanced Kharn and his berserkers. I placed my land speeder right behind the rhino as bait and sure enough he disembarked to have some shots at it. He was unable to do anything thanks to the cover save but now Kharn was ripe for some heavy flaming to the face. With that and some fire from a nearby grey hunters squad I'd thinned them out nicely for my lone wolf to have a go at Kharn. He weathered the attacks and managed to get two chainfist hits on Kharn. I'd only need twos to force Rich to pass a 5+ save or suffer instant death. Brilliantly I rolled a double 1 and Kharn lived to fight on (but not until he'd killed a couple of his own). 

Elsewhere Ragnar had disembarked from the redeemer ready to assault some plague marines who had parked their rhino in the open. A combination of assault cannon, krak missiles and meltagun fire could only stun the rhino leaving Ragnar stranded. If I could keep him alive I knew he could do some damage so I was pleased when Rich had an unsuccessful round of shooting. Ragnar and a handful of grey hunters charged into some plague marines and newly arrived deepstriking terminators. Ragnar single handedly killed off the plague marines after a few had succumbed to melta and bolt pistol fire. The rest of the squad killed a single terminator but were finished off by his buddies. Ragnar spent two phases trying to kill them off (I forgot Warrior Born AGAIN) but was ultimately killed with a power weapon.

On the left the grey hunters made short work of Kharn and his remaining berserkers and the remaining grey hunter squad held out against the other berserkers with help from a nearby lone wolf. One Ragnar was gone Rich was able to steamroll through my army leaving only half a pack of hunters, some lone wolves and a rhino standing at the end of turn 5.

I had some terrible dice rolls, my long fangs may as well have been Orks. Ragnar couldn't hit a barn door and Rich had some amazingly good rolls, passing tons of terminator invulnerable saves. Both of us agreed that my appauling luck was the deciding factor in the game. 

For me it all game down to the snake eyes roll from the lone wolf against Kharn who then finished off the loner and not been able to pop that rhino for Ragnar to get off a full charge. The defiler survived too long but that was largely down to me wasting the land speeder on Kharn's squad. I think Rich felt pretty guilty about some of his rolling but sometimes the dice just go your way!

Game Three - Space Wolves vs. Elysians (Tim - A Guardsman's Guide to Glory)
Having barely moved up from the bottom table I was surprised to find myself up against what is essentially an IG list. Needless to say they were gorgeous models and Tim went on to share the best painted army prize. With two squads of long fangs and plenty of meltas/fists I was confident I could deal with the 6 flyers he was fielding (not sure where I'm getting this confidence mind you!). The game was Seize Ground (5 objectives) with Pitched Battle deployment. 

I secured the crucial first turn and got some great positions for my long fangs. The land raider would secure the middle field and I had a rhino on each flank with a lone wolf in support. Tim only deployed a couple of vendettas, his commander in a little buggy thing and a scanner squad. 

I made short work of one of the vendettas and the scanner squad (which allows one unit to re-roll to hit). Ragnar ordered his land raider forward to wipe out the survivors and proceded to kill off another squad who disembarked from the other vendetta. Tim brought on sentinels and vultures to make mincemeat of my long fangs. The vulture's twin-linked punisher cannon (20 S5 shots) easily killed off one long fang squad but the sentinels couldn't kill a single space wolf. I brought in a lone wolf to help the long fangs finish off the walkers and the long fangs returned to their positions unharmed. Ragnar and co. sat on an objective and took pot shots and the remaining vendetta. 

Elsewhere one of my rhinos was destroyed and the other immobilised. The wrecked rhino meant I was forced to disembark right in front of the vultures. Luckily I was able to shake one of them with living lightning so a few grey hunters survived and made a run for the objective in the middle. My lone wolf on that side reduced a valkyrie to rubble and in the subsequent turned charged it's occupants and forced them to flee. The other valkyre came on near the surviving long fangs and struggled to kill them. The lone wolf chased the valkyrie around eventually being in position to kill a couple of the occupants and chase them off after the grey hunters had wrecked the flyer. The land raider charged back to mid field and it's assault cannons brought down a vulture (the other had lost it's punisher cannon).

At the end of my turn 5 I'd killed or was chasing off all of Tim's troops and was holding 3 objectives. Tim moved in his vulture to contest the one near the long fangs, vendetta to contest Ragnars and the last remaining grey hunter in the centre was no match for the fire from the sentinels and command vehicle. At the end of Tim's turn 5 all the objectives were either unclaimed or contested. With a turn 6 I could use my grey hunters melta fire, lone wolf and long fangs to at least kill one of the flyers and secure the win. Tim passed the dice to see if we got a turn 6 to his girlfriend who rolled a 1 sealing my fate.

My luck changed in this game with some very lucky shots on the flyers. However, Ragnar's squad and the land raider really needed to kill the other vendetta but failed ultimately costing me the game. I'd focussed on his troops but ignored the flyers' ability to contest. I can be nearly certain turn 6 would've changed that.

I think my main mistake was that when one of the rhinos was immobilised I left the grey hunters inside hoping to claim an objective late on. With their melta fire earlier they may have killed off the other valkyrie and therefore I'd have won in turn 5.

I can't really complain about my list. The lone wolves were fantastic (if a little unlucky with Kharn) and in all three games made some crucial kills. The rune priest did his job with some nice jaws and lightning attacks. Ragnar could've been a lot better if I'd remembered the Warrior Born bonus attacks but I never seem to remember them! Grey hunters are always reliable, as are long fangs.

I didn't really make the most of the land speeder in any of the games. I decided to bring it on at the start instead of deep striking it. The idea being that it would be another target and hopefully my rhinos would survive longer. I was too indecisive about it's targets. In the ork game it should've hidden and contested, in the chaos game the defiler should've been melta'd and in the final game it should've been on the other side of the table killing vultures.

I picked up a Dark Eldar Battleforce and Archon to make the most of the tournament discount so next time around I might be defecting....

Post #100 - Blog Wars: The Aftermath

Today I've reached my 100th post and I think it's quite fitting that it should be a report from yesterday's first ever Blog Wars tournament. I have to say I'm really pleased with how the event worked. Everyone showed up and we got going slightly earlier than planned. There was a nice variety of armies and opponents and although my performance was somewhat lacking 23rd out of 26 (1 draw & 2 losses). I had a brilliant time as all of the games could've gone either way. I'll post up some reports in the next few days.

I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who turned up. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. If there's enough interest I'd like to run another one. The results were as follows:

1st place - Andy Humphris (Ven - Sons of Sanguinius) - Dark Eldar - winning £50
2nd place - Andy Pattison (Songs of Sanguinius) - Imperial Guard - winning £30
3rd place - Ken Morley (Ignatum) - Tau Empire (!!!) - winning £20
Last place - Scott Rocco (From the Fang) - Chaos Space Marines - winning £10

Best painted army - Tim Wharton (A Guardsman's Guide to Glory - Elysians) and Drew Lord (Excommunicate Traitoris - Imperial Guard) - sharing £25
Best painted special character - Damian Hannon (Sons of Sanguinius) - Belial (DA) - winning £15

I also gave away some Finecast miniatures in the raffle. With no one winning two prizes that meant that of the 26 people there (including myself) 11 people took home prizes. Not bad for £15 entry I reckon. 

Anyway, full results can be found on the Blog Wars page. I'll be taking down the banner in a couple of weeks but it will remain accessible through the tab at the top. There were some closely fought (and I hope enjoyable) games as well as some out and out thrashings. I'm extremely pleased with the winning armies. Obviously there was always going to be a guard list involved but for the only Dark Eldar army to win the grand prize is immense. I think there's an element of "oh shit I've never played these before, what do they do?" to it but that's not to take anything away from Andy (who wasn't even going to bring DE!). As an occasional Tau player I'm also thrilled that Ken achieved 3rd place.

As I said above I'd like to run the tournament again, hopefully later this year but definitely next year. It was by no means a perfect event and there's a few things I know I could improve on for next time:
  • More players - due to there only being 26 of us it meant there were a couple of clashes in round 2 and 3 where people had played before. Easily solved and even in massive tournaments this happens but with more numbers it should be less likely. Only way I can get more players is by word of mouth and better advertising of the event.
  • Bring a better laptop - I took my wife's laptop along to do the scores and act as a timer for the games, sadly since it's getting on a bit now it doesn't have HDMI so therefore I wasn't able to connect it to the big screen. Not a big deal since it wasn't a massive room but it'd be nice to see the timer better and not be squinting at a screen for the scores.
  • Better thought out prizes - I wanted to avoid giving out a bundle of prizes to people only to have them swap it for something else. Therefore I opted for store credit at Maelstrom. If I choose to do this next time I'll definitely make a better arrangement with the staff and get some vouchers printed up.
  • Better raffle prizes - I bought the finecast stuff on the day and unfortunately they'd not got a lot left so I was limited in my options. People seemed fairly pleased with them but I know I can do better next time with a bit more planning.
  • Certificates - there was me thinking people wouldn't be bothered about a crappy certificate I'd made on my PC. However, I think there needs to be something presented to the winners at the end.
I also appeal to anyone that attended to send me their feedback on the event. How do you think it went? What could I do differently next time? Was 2.5 hours too long for games? Was the scenery decent? What do you think of the venue? etc etc. Please comment on this post or email me if there's something you don't want to post up on here. Also if people have pictures from the event they're happy to share then I'll try and create a web album with a selection.

Once again, thanks for making the first ever Blog Wars a success and I look forward to seeing all of you again for the next one! We need to knock that smile of Venerable's face. It's going to be unbearable to read his blog for the next few days!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Blog Wars Army Gallery

It's less than 24 hours to Blog Wars now and I've completely finished my army (at least to a standard I'm happy with). I decided to that since I've barely put any pictures of my army up on here before that I'd go a bit mad with this and put a load up so apologies for the number of pics. As ever click for a bigger pic. Oh and before I start I've added one more thing to the what to bring bit of the BW page. Namely, TRAYS people, TRAYS. Makes a big difference to have something to move your army around on!

So here it is my Blog Wars army (you can find the list on an earlier post):
Here's a few close up of all the individual units. Firstly the Long Fangs:

Now the two standard grey hunter squads:

The grey hunter packs' rhinos display the symbol that corresponds to the shoulder pad design on some of the squad members. One being the wolf's head and the other being the claw. Both symbols were painted freehand and I'm pretty pleased with them. The join down the middle of the rhino hatch gives a good marker to keep symmetry:
The land speeder has proven itself time and time again so I'm hoping for a good showing from it tomorrow:
The lone wolves took a bit of converting since GW don't make any right handed storm shields that I could find anyway. The conversion was fairly simple. On one I carefully carved out the original fist and greenstuff/glued it onto an arm which had had the storm bolter removed. The second I simply green stuffed the shield onto one of the arms intended for a frost blade:
The wolf guard with combi-melta and power fist all have a different attempt at a combi-melta conversion. One simply has a melta barrel glued onto a storm bolter (not so keen on that one), the other has the bottom carved off the meltagun and replaced with a piece from a bolter (my favourite) and the last one has parts from an old bolt pistol glued into place on top of the meltagun:
Finally, last but not least, Ragnar and his bodyguard. A completely tooled up grey hunter pack with wolf guard riding into battle in a land raider redeemer:
I'm pretty pleased with how Ragnar turned out. As I've said before I'd love to do a proper conversion but I lack the tools, skill and time!

Well that's it then, this is the last post before Blog Wars (assuming I haven't forgotten to mention something vital). Can't wait to see you all there and I hope that my army makes a good showing of itself. See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Special Characters at Blog Wars

Well with the tournament only about 36 hours away and my army pretty much finished I thought I'd share with you a list of the special characters which will be making a (mandatory) appearance at the tournament. For those who didn't know every list has to include a special character. The reason for this was to try and encourage people to use "friendlier" lists which has, for the most part, been successful. It's encouraged people to try out new things and it'll certainly make the games more interesting in most cases. Anyway, in attendance on Sunday will be *drumroll*:

Ragnar Blackmane (mine, Space Wolves)
Draigo & Inquistor Coteaz (Grey Knights)
Abaddon the Despoiler (CSM)
Corbulo (Blood Angels)
Njal Stormcaller (Space Wolves)
Commander O'Shovah (Tau Empire)
Wazdakka Gutsmek (Orks)
Belial (Dark Angels)
Kharn the Betrayer (CSM)
Logan Grimnar (Space Wolves)
Knight Commander Pask (Imperial Guard)
Sergeant Harker (Imperial Guard)
Harker & Marbo (Imperial Guard)
Colonel Straken (Imperial Guard)
Mephiston, Lord of Death (Blood Angels)
Baron Sathonyx (Dark Eldar)
Justicar Thawn (Grey Knights)
Kharn the Betrayer (CSM)
Marshal Helbrecht (Black Templars)
Marneus Calgar (Ultramarines)
Chief Librarian Tigurius (Relictors a.ka. Space Marines)
Kaldor Draigo (Grey Knights)
Doom of Malantai (Tyranids)
Bjorn the Fell Handed (Space Wolves)

As you can see there aren't too many duplicates. There's 2 Kharns, 2 Draigos and a couple of Harkers. Rather pleasingly there's 4 different Space Wolves characters which you can read more about using the links on the right. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noted that there are only 24 on the list. This is because one Tau player and an Elysians (Forge World) player have used their option to be exempt from the requirement. This shouldn't affect things too much I hope but that remains to be seen.
As I've mentioned before there'll be a competition for best painted SC. This means it's worth putting a few extra details on to their models even if you don't have time to do it for the rest of your army. It also means that those two players will unfortunately be unable participate in that part of the competition. There's plenty of other prizes on offer though. With potentially 9 prizes available that means hopefully a third of the people there will get their entry money back! Not bad I reckon. Obviously, some jammy sod will end up winning more than one prize. I must point out that I'll not be eligible for any of the prizes to ensure my impartiality which is a shame because I could do with some Maelstrom cash! It also means you get a 3 in 25 chance of scooping a raffle prize!

Anyway, some (possibly) interesting data on the armies attending. There'll be 5 Imperial Guard players (roughly a 20%) which is no big surprise because they remain a strong tournament army and with their cheap special characters it's easy to write a Blog Wars list. There's 4 Space Wolves, 2 BA, 3 CSM, 1 DA, 1 BT, 2 vanilla and 3 GK lists which means a total of 16 power armour armies or just under a third. There's therefore 69% loyalist Imperial armies. The remaining 5 armies are Orks, Dark Eldar, 2x Tau and Tyranids. There's quite a bit of variety then but there's good chance you'll play Space Wolves or Imperial Guard. Not really surprising given it's an SW blog and IG are always popular at tournaments. I'm really pleased to see a couple of Tau lists as they were my previous army before SW. I'm very thankful to Venerable from SoS for bringing DE in the end as I'm considering them next.

That means the only codexes not represented are Eldar, Necrons, Daemons and Witch Hunters. Sad there's no Necrons because I've never played them but since they're one of the oldest codexes it's hardly surprising. Daemons would probably have been represented by Darren from C&F who sadly isn't attending. There's often a couple of Witch Hunters armies at bigger tournaments though as they remain pretty competitive. At one point there was going to be an Eldar list but that player changed to CSM at the last minute after he discovered they aren't that great any more! Bit of a shame since I've got an Eldar army tucked away.

Hope someone other than mean found all those stats interesting. Tune in tomorrow for pictures of my (hopefully) completely painted army for Blog Wars! I promise there aren't too many more Blog Wars related posts coming up for those who are sick of hearing about it!

Blog Wars This Weekend - few updates and things to bring

So time does indeed fly! I can't believe Blog Wars is this weekend. I've spent the last couple of weeks painting up my army and getting them ready for this so I'm really looking forward to seeing them in action at the tournament. Incidentally, I'm going to post up some pictures of my "finished" army later on today once I've had chance to do some photography in this lovely weather. I use the quote marks because, as I've previously mentioned, at some point I'd like to go back to them and add more detail.

Anyway, onto Blog Wars. I've updated the tournament page with some more details including what to bring, prizes, food & drink etc. The numbers are now finalised and the number you see next to your name on the list is the number I'll use for the results and fixtures on the day. Please make a note of it now and print it at the top of your army list. 

A couple of quick reminders. Firstly, the venue has asked me to remind all of you that no externally purchased food or drink is allowed on site. They have a shop for hot & cold drinks and snacks so make use of that instead. Secondly, your army must be painted to at least a three colour minimum. It's at the discretion of your opponent how strictly this is enforced. If there's a problem I'll come and make a ruling but if it's clear little or no effort has been made to paint your miniatures then it is possible you won't be able to use them. Obviously, I don't want to do this but it's a shame if the rest of entrants put a lot of effort into army appearance only to find others haven't put the time in.

Other than that I look forward to seeing all of you on the day and I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun. From the look of the lists and group of people attending I'm sure it will be a laugh. Please remember that even though prizes are involved it's only a bit of fun so no nerdrage please! 

I hope this will be the first of many Blog Wars events so let's try and make this a great starting point and a regular fixture on the calendar.


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