Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Board Game Nights - Star Wars Rebellion and Scythe

Another reason I've not blogged recently is that I've also been indulging in some board games, namely Star Wars: Rebellion and Scythe. Both of which are in the top 10 on Board Game Geek and it's pretty easy to see why.

Rebellion is a lopsided (or asymmetrical if you're being fancy) two player game where unsurprisingly one of you plays as the Rebels and the other plays as the Imperium. I've had it since my birthday in April but only recently managed to get some games in. It was definitely worth the wait. It's got a fantastic mechanism for assigning heroes to missions that really builds the tension and somehow they've made both factions feel exactly as you'd expect them to. The Empire have a massive advantage when it comes to materiel but the plucky Rebels hamper their plans with daring raids and subterfuge. The Empire is trying to find the hidden Rebel base before the Rebels gain enough support in the galaxy to make their search impossible. We've only played a handful of games so far but for an asymmetrical game the balance is just right which is a difficult thing to achieve. They're also releasing an expansion for the game in time for Christmas!

Not our game. It seems I didn't take photos even though I thought I had!
Scythe is a totally different animal. I think you can have up to seven players but for our game we had four. Matt had read through the rulebook but none of us had played before. In spite of this we picked up the game really quickly and I don't think we had to refer to the rules once. That's pretty impressive for a game which is actually pretty complex when you get into it. I'm sure people who've played more board games will draw parallels to other games but this is the first time we've played something like this and it was a great experience. It obviously helped that I won but there's again a well designed scoring system that keeps things close to the end and there's a lot of gambling to do to make sure you don't end the game too early and not actually win it!

It's tough to pick which of the games I prefer. I think the decision would be pretty easy if one of them wasn't set in the SW universe though. Ultimately they're very different games that I'll hopefully get to play a lot more of.

I'm hoping to get more BB games in soon but also trying to start an SW Armada campaign against Matt and I'm actually playing some 40K on Tuesday against Dan. That will also hopefully be a campaign game as my Orks take on his Death Guard and we figure out a narrative from then on.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Never Mind The Blog Wars Update - First Turn, Ob Sec, etc.

Apologies for not posting this sooner but I haven't posted much of anything for a while now. With NMTBW just over a month away I thought I ought to clarify how the Chapter Approved updates will work at the event. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about please take a look before reading on.

Boots On The Ground
First off, Boots On The Ground will definitely be in use. Granted with the limited duplicates we won't see many (if any) flyer heavy lists but it's worth bearing in mind.

Objective Secured
We'll also be using the Objective Secured rule as below:

However, this will be used with the caveat that every unit in the detachment has the same faction keyword from the following list: Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Deathwatch, Astra Militarum, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Ministorum, Asuryani, Drukhari, Harlequins, Chaos Daemons, Renegades & Heretics, Thousand Sons, Death Guard, Necrons, T’au Empire, Orks, <Hive Fleet>, and Genestealer Cults.

Also note: Codex: Grey Knights, Codex: Chaos Space Marines and Codex: Space Marines are explicitly not covered by Objective Secured because their Codexes provide a similar rule (i.e. Defenders of Humanity).

I haven't seen the Death Guard or Astra Militarum books yet but I'd assume they would also be exempt. Please can someone clarify for me if they have anything similar in there.

First Turn
I think at this stage it's better to stick with the original rulebook version of things. I think this is the right call for several reasons:

  1. First and foremost, NMTBW hopefully won't feature the standard tournament mentality of shooting people off the table as soon as possible. Partly because the core group of regulars are a decent group but also because of the way tabling works with the Maelstrom points.
  2. The new +1 to first turn roll-off doesn't make much sense to me when your opponent can still Seize. You've already deployed at this point so Seizing afterwards makes the roll off seem a bit daft. You've deployed not really knowing who's going first after all.
  3. It's pretty close to the event so people will have written their lists and (hopefully) already have a sizeable chunk of their force painted. Changing the mechanic now might require people to rethink and there isn't long left before the army submission deadline (28th Oct).
A Few Other Clarifications
Few quick questions from the Double Trouble/NMTBW Facebook page and emails:
  • Warlord Traits and Psychic Powers can be picked or rolled for. It's up to each player to decide how they want to generate them. Players can change these before each game if they like.
  • The Astra Militarum book will be legal at NMTBW but please try to keep filth to a minimum (same goes for all armies mind you!)
  • You can enter a model into the painting competition that doesn't feature in your tournament army. However, the Best Army Award entries must all be armies that are competing at the event.

If there's anything else you want clarifying, comment, email or ask on the FB page but do so soon so I can inform everyone of anything significant.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Blood Bowl League at the Outpost

It's been quite a while since I posted here. I'll be posting about NMTBW straight after this (although I'll schedule it for Monday probably) but I wanted to update you on what I've been up to during my absence. My enthusiasm for 40K is at a low ebb at the moment. I'll go into more detail in another post but it means I've directed my attention to other games for a bit of a break. Absence makes the heart grow fonder or so I'm told....

I've always put off joining a BB league because I didn't think I could commit to playing games regularly enough. However, the latest one at the Outpost is pretty laid back. You can play as many (or as few) games as you like with the only limits being a maximum of two friendlies and two league games against each other coach. It's a typical TV1000 league but using the rules for Stadiums and Sponsorships from DZ2.

I've had five games so far so here's a brief rundown of each. Oh and I'm using a pretty standard Dwarf team consisting of 2 troll slayers, 2 runners, 2 blitzers and 5 blockers. You'll notice from the pictures that these are the old metal models (3rd edition I think).

Game One vs. Ashley Rogers' Skaven
I fully expected a baptism of fire in my first ever league game but Ashley was great to play against and patient when I was taking my time to make sure I wasn't doing something stupid as a rookie. He was also kind enough to get a couple of his rats knocked out when trying to dodge out of my tackle zones. I'm pretty experienced against Skaven as Matt uses them most of the time so I knew my Blockers' Tackle skill was important. He scored pretty quickly though and I fully expected to end up in a hole pretty quickly. Quite a few rolls went my way though and I somehow managed to equalise before the half and add a second shortly after half time.

On the ensuing kick off it started raining too which made it difficult for Ashley's players to get their hands on the ball. My players were able to capitalise on this and score a third touchdown to give me a 3-1 lead. Oh and kill a linerat in the process! When a Riot happened on the kick off and cost us both a turn, Ashley had pretty much no chance of getting back into the game, especially when he had something like 5 players left on the field! The game ended 3-1 (I caused 3 casualties too).

I managed to give one of my Blitzers the Guard skill and collected 50K which allowed me to add an Apothecary too.

Game Two vs. Mitch Henson's Undead
Well, it's safe to say this was more like the kind of league game I was expecting. Mitch was just as friendly but clearly a competitive player. I've never played Undead before so I did a bit of research beforehand. He'd only played a single league game so I'd hoped he'd only have a couple of Ghouls at this point and no skills. What I didn't realise what he'd played 4-5 friendlies first and had gained a couple of sponsors too. That game him plenty of cash to have all four Ghouls with skills on them and Guard on one of his Mummies (he had one killed in a friendly though - ouch!).

I never really felt like I was a contender in this game. Mitch got right down to just outside the end zone in his first drive but held off scoring as I had no-one in range. He proceeded to bash my team into the ground. I ended up with 3 players injured (though thankfully just two Badly Hurts and a Miss Next Game). The game quickly got out of my reach and despite a well caged attempt at a touchdown I never quite made it and the game ended 0-3 with Mitch also scoring two casualties (one of my injured players was the result of a Throw A Rock! kick off). Still, the Stadium gave us an extra D6 winnings so at least I got 50K gold.

Game Three vs. Steve Ashton's Orcs
Well, I say his Orcs, they're actually mine. I'd invited Steve down to join the league and gave him his first game. It was a pretty close game with the expected low number of touchdowns from a pair of bashy teams. My biggest problem was that three times in this game my Troll Slayer rolled a 1 for his Dauntless against a Black Orc (which costed me a re-roll) I then rolled a double skull (which I couldn't now re-roll). This pretty quickly made me regret giving me Troll Slayer the Mighty Blow skill instead of Pro!

Still, I managed to keep Steve out of the end zone and squeaked out a 1-0 win despite Steve's Orcs causing two casualties, one of which was the death of my Guard Blitzer after I'd already used my Apothecary to prevent a Troll Slayer from losing AG. In hindsight I shouldn't have cared too much about the loss of AG as it isn't like they dodge or touch the ball much!

Game Four vs. Dan Tolley's Chaos
With a fresh Blitzer in the lineup I moved straight into the next game against Dan and his Chaos team made up of Horrors as proxies for Beastmen and Warriors. This game was the story of the S4 Blitz from his Beastmen (Blue Horrors). There were several times when I had a runner through into a good position with the ball but then regretted leaving him so exposed when the two-dice block came in. I did at least manage to keep the game close and very nearly tied it up.

My Blitzer getting blitzed by a Beastman (Blue Horror). I still scored when I got back up though!
I managed to get a touchdown but Dan scored twice giving him a 2-1 victory. However, I did manage to make his victory bittersweet as with pretty much the final block of the game I killed one of his Chaos Warriors.

Game Five vs. Martin Collins' Skaven
Another game against those pesky rats and the forever irritating Gutter Runners. Martin had played three league games to my four so he'd managed to get the full four Gutter Runners and give them all Wrestle. This proved to be a pain!

He elected to receive first and quickly made it down to near the end zone. I had a choice between either trying a risky Blitz to take out the ball carrier or use my numbers advantage to smash up his team to make my life easier later. What swung was the decision was the though of him holding onto the ball and not scoring to run down the clock. That gave me most of the first half to try and equalise which I did within a couple of turns.

The problem was that I simply wasn't getting anywhere with my blocking game. I'd gotten through the rats' armour with reasonable ease but kept stunning them. When I did manage a couple of knock outs it was just before my touchdown and they came straight back. I scored on T7 which gave us a T8 where I tried to massacre the only three rats on the line of scrimmage. That proved fruitless as again I could only stun. I even fouled since we'd been given a bribe each from Get The Ref! earlier in the game but another stun! Fortunately for me Martin was having similarly bad luck with a couple of 1s re-rolled to 1s on his dodges.

Still, Martin managed to score again pretty easily in the second half and again I had to find a way to equalise. I ended up in the situation you can see above but still broke my way out and used a couple of GFIs to get into the end zone. That tied the game up at 2-2 but with 4 turns left it was still anyone's game. I'd considered holding onto the ball near the end zone to run down the clock and hopefully put some more rats out of action but I decided it would be more fun to play for the win, no matter how slim my chances were.

On the ensuing kick off I suffered another Riot (there'd been one in the first half too) which gave us both just three turns to score. My kick off was fortunate to stay in bounds on the right side of the field and when Martin continued to have some awful luck and couldn't get to the ball I spied my opportunity for an unlikely game winning score (see below).

I managed a Push on a two dice block to free up the Blitzer on the right of the picture to go and grab the ball. He needed a re-roll to pick it up but successfully passed on a 4+ to the other Blitzer in the centre who succeeded on his 3+ catch. I could almost taste victory but having burned my re-roll I knew what was coming. He needed two GFIs to get into the end zone and fell down on the first and ended up a square from home! So near but yet, so far!

Still I'd managed to score twice and almost a third time which isn't easy with Dwarves. It was a great game but mainly because both of us had some rotten luck. I think it's probably the first draw in the league too.

I've now got a TV of 1,270 with a smattering of Guard, both runners with Block and Mighty Blow on a Troll Slayer. Not only that but I've got both an Apothecary and a 12th man to give me some resiliency.

I'm learning something about playing Dwarves with every game and experimenting with different setups and tactics. I'm glad I took the plunge into league play and I only hope I can keep managing to get down to the Outpost for some games.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nevermind the Blog Wars - Tickets On Sale Now!

Title says it all really, tickets are now on sale for Nevermind the Blog Wars which will take place on November 11th at the NWGC in Stockport, UK. This is a return to singles events after running Double Trouble on its own for a couple of years. The release of 8th edition has piqued my interest in singles again so I thought it was time to resurrect Blog Wars (albeit in a different guise).

I recently previewed the event pack on the Double Trouble/NMTBW Facebook page and I think it would be fair to say there was a mixed response. I wanted to try and address some of the issues we've seen with 8th edition 40K in a semi-competitive environment. I'm not suggesting this is the format that all tournaments should employ but I've never been interested in going along with everyone else. What I want to continue to run are tournaments where the emphasis is on showing up and having three fun games against friendly opponents rather than three miserable games where you either annihilate your opponent comfortably (no fun) or watch as your opponent decimates your army in a couple of turns (no fun either).

I know some people feel the comp goes a little too far but remember two things: 1) this is a new edition so TOs need to try things to find a system that gives balance and 2) no-one is forcing you to attend. There are other events out there (granted none of them have generous raffles like mine). Also remember that I'm pretty experienced at running events now and the last couple of Blog Wars ran pretty smoothly. I've been to some events that are woeful in terms of organisation, are stingy with prizes (looking at you GW) or where the majority of people I play are WAAC types. Can I promise you that NMTBW will be the best event you'll attend in 8th edition? Of course not. Will I try harder than any solo TO out there to get it as close as I can? Definitely.

Anyway, if after all that rambling you're still interested in attending, tickets are on sale now for £17.50 from the usual PayPal address. Details or the scoring system, army selection, etc. are on the NMTBW page. Please read them carefully before you buy your ticket.

I hope to see plenty of you guys there and maybe even some new faces too. Whatever happens it'll be a good day of gaming and you never know, you could scoop the top prize in the raffle!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Never Mind the Blog Wars - Event Format and Army Selection

Never Mind the Blog Wars (NMTBW for short) is under three months away (Saturday November 11th 2017) and I've yet to post up the rules pack. Ironically this is because I've found a lot of hobby mojo recently so I've been working on painting my models rather than blogging.

However, I've had a few emails and FB messages now asking about the format so I think it's time I committed to a plan. NMTBW will be a return to singles tournaments. That doesn't mean the death of Double Trouble, which will return with DT3 in June, but BWX was my last singles event in November 2015. I've been trying to play as much 8th edition as possible before writing the rules pack but that doesn't amount to much as I have a full time job and a family which are pretty big draws on my time.

It seems to me that the standard points limit for tournaments in 8th is 2,000. This is because there's been a general increase in unit costs but also because games are, in theory at least, a lot more brutal and therefore finish quickly. I'd considered a lot of different things to make NMTBW unique. You may or may not remember that my previous event series, Blog Wars, was themed around the fact that you had to take a special character in your army. At the time this was against the grain as a lot of events were banning SCs completely.

One of the things I learned from running Blog Wars over the years was that keeping things simple is the way forward. Trying to come up with unique missions or deployments etc. just confuses people on the day or worse, puts them off entirely. It's also pretty early in 8th edition too so I don't want to give people too much extra to worry about when they're still getting to grips with a new rulebook. What I propose then is:

  • Three games of 2,000 pts
  • Maelstrom and Blood Points simultaneously
  • Scores converted from raw VPs and BPs to a tournament point system that rewards margin of victory (as I used in BWX).
  • Straightforward Maelstrom of 3 objectives per turn
  • Possible custom Maelstrom deck similar to those I made for BW and DT
There's a danger of this event being too similar to others so as to not be very interesting. However, need I remind you how generous the raffle is?!? The key issue then is army selection. The way I see it the main problem with 40K at the moment is spam. Not just the number of times the same unit is taken but also the blobs of conscripts, horrors, etc. In a similar vein to Double Trouble I think the answer is:
  • Three detachments max
  • No unit can be taken more than twice
A bigger issue for some factions than others of course but as I'd discussed at length before, there's such a disparity between the factions on numerous levels that trying to find a one size fits all approach is impossible. I'd considered saying troops and/or dedicated transports were exempt from this but I think a straightforward limit is easier. I'd also thought about just vetting lists but I've explored that avenue before and it's fraught with problems.

Right, as ever, I'd love to know what you guys think. Are the army restrictions too harsh? Do they go far enough? Should I vary the missions more? Basically, tell me exactly what you want from a tournament, what you haven't liked about 8th edition events you've attended so far and what you think could be done to improve them. Blog Wars worked because you guys fed back to me, I'd appreciate it if that continues.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dark Angels Army for Sale (pic heavy)

I've thrown this army up on eBay for anyone who's interested. I started collecting this army after the Dark Vengeance boxed set tempted me into building a DA force. I've just never really felt the love for it. Maybe it's the Space Wolf player in me that's not happy but for whatever reason they're the last army I think of when I'm writing a list for a tournament or a casual game. As such, I've never used them at an event.

The auction includes the following:

  • Sammael (finecast) - painted to table-top standard
  • DV Librarian - primed black
  • DV Chapter Master - primed black
  • DV Interrogator Chaplain (limited edition one) - primed black
  • Librarian on bike converted from DV librarian - painted to table-top standard 
  • DV Bike Squad - primed black
  • 2 x 10-man tactical squads from DV - one assembled but unpainted, one part painted
  • Three MM attack bikes converted from DV bikes - primed black
  • RW Command Squad - primed black
  • 6x Black Knights - primed black 
  • 3x 6-man RW Bike Squads from old Battleforce - two squads painted to table-top standard, one primed black
  • DV Terminator Squad - primed black
  • DW Knights - primed black
  • Land Speeder Typhoon - part painted
  • RW Darkshroud - primed black
  • RW Nephilim Jetfighter - part painted
  • Landspeeder - unassembed (not pictured)
  • DV Teriminator squad - unassembled (not pictured)

If nothing else it makes space in my cabinet for my new Tyranids!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Arthur's First Hobby Work!

I'll post up an update of my progress in the next couple of days but I just wanted to post quickly tonight to show you some painting my 3 year old son did. He came out to the garage when I was painting last weekend and so I gave him a sacrificial Ork boy. He chose the colours and I showed him how to get some out of the pot, put it on the pallet and then he applied it to the model.

It's funny that he's already using a pallet at 3 and it took me until something like 28 to stop taking the paints straight from the pot! I'm sure it'll be months, if not years, before he has another go but I hope this will be the start of his forays into the hobby.

Does kind of remind me of this though:

Friday, July 21, 2017

New Edition, New Army - Hive Fleet Bakunawa

It's been quite a while since I indulged in a new army. My Imperial Knights were my last foray into a new faction but I decided that the release of 8th edition was a good excuse to start another. I've always wanted a Tyranid army from the first game of 40K I ever witnessed where they clashed with Space Wolves. Our friend Scott started a Tyranid army though and therefore I felt there was no need to start one of my own. Scott hasn't played 40K in several years and they've been missing from our games. Of the factions that Matt and I don't own, Tyranids are the one that stands out to me.

They're totally different to any of the other factions. If nothing else the absence of anything even resembling a vehicle is appealing. All of the other races are anthropomorphic be they robot people, fish people or pointy eared people. I suppose Daemons aren't very human but I've said before that I'm really not a fan. Tyranids offer me a chance to try something completely different. What's put me off in the past is, to be honest, their mediocre rules. When they have been competitive it's been through mono-builds where certain units must be taken to succeed. Most recently it was a pile of FMCs and that just didn't appeal to me.

The new edition has opened up some possibilities though. I'm not naive enough to think I won't gravitate towards the stronger units but I do think there's a wider range of viable builds than there has been before.

Anyway, long story short, when I picked up my 8th edition rulebook I also bought a Tyranid Swarm and Start Collecting box. I'd toyed with the idea of just buying Scott's army from him but, whilst he's done an excellent job of the Leviathan scheme, I just don't feel any sense of ownership. I'd much rather paint up my own army whilst using his to get used to how they play.

This brought me to a decision: what colour scheme should I go with? Of the established Hive Fleets I think Leviathan probably is my favourite and I've already ruled that out. None of the others really appeal. That means something new. Part of the reason I don't want to paint Leviathan is I'm going to be painting up more Drukhari/Dark Eldar soon and they'll be purple. That made me look at my collection:

  • Wolves - blue/grey
  • T'au - blue/grey (what was I thinking? - suppose at the time white would've been difficult without an airbrush)
  • Orks - red (bits of yellow)
  • Dark Angels - green/light stone
  • Imperial Knights - orange (and would paint Ryza Ad Mech if it came to it)
So what's left? I don't have any yellow armies but I've recently started painting my BB Orcs yellow. Can't imagine doing a full 40K army. Don't have any totally black armies but then there's Ravenwing to consider in my DA. That basically leaves pink! 

I've long been a believer that Tyranids look best with carapace in a darker colour than flesh but in the spirit of trying something new I decided to do the opposite. I built up a hormagaunt from the swam box to try some ideas out on: 

This was my first attempt. What you see here is Mechanicus Standard Grey, Nuln Oil and a Dawnstone Drybrush. The carapace gets Screamer Pink, Pink Horror, Emperor's Children and then a thick outline of Fulgrim Pink (Edge paint). The claws are then painted back in with Abaddon Black and an 'Ardcoat finish. 

I wasn't quite happy though so I built up a second gaunt. This time I tried out drybrushing before the wash to avoid it looking as powdery. I also went for a line highlight of Fulgrim Pink:

I still felt it needed more though so I added a blue highlight to the claws before applying the 'Ardcoat. I also took the opportunity to paint in the teeth and tongue. I went with blue for the tongue too.

I like the blue on the claws but I'm considering changing the tongue to bright green. The reason being it'll look better on some of the larger monsters when it comes to doing tentacles and gaping maws. I finished off the second model with basing to see how the scheme looks:

Apologies for the poor picture but I think you get the idea. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. There's still a couple of issues though. My aim was to come up with a scheme that didn't take much effort so I could get through all the gaunts pretty quickly. The Mechanicus Standard Grey can be applied with an airbrush (or possibly a can of the stuff) and then it's just drybrush and wash for the skin. The panels are a bit of a pain because they take three different pinks to build up from the black. The line highlights definitely look neater but they're time consuming and I'll get sick of them pretty quickly when I'm painting the 80 gaunts you get in the swarm box. Maybe feathering the colour will work better. Paint the panels up to Pink Horror then do feathered highlights of Emperor's Children and Fulgrim Pink.

Finally, I need to decide how the weapons will be painted on both the termagants and the bigger monsters. Therefore I've built and sprayed a couple of termagants (1 devourer, 1 fleshborer). That'll give me a good opportunity to test more ideas out.

It may seem pretty excessive to spend so much time testing things out but I want to get this scheme right from the start so I'm not halfway through painting my army when I decide I don't like it. Once the termagants are complete I'll try out the Carnifex from the swarm box to test the scheme on a bigger monster. The key is to find a scheme I like the look of but is also quick and easy to paint. 

There's a reason I've not been blogging much recently. I've done plenty of hobby. I also filled all of the gaunt bases with basing beads:

This will hopefully prevent the falling forwards that the gaunts are wont to do. I've also built up this little fella:

I'm hoping to get him basecoated with the airbrush tomorrow (well today when you read this). By working on several projects at once, I'm not as likely to get burnt out on any one of them. I'll also be returning to my scenery (yeah, yeah, I know). 

Right, that'll do for today. I'll post again once I've made more progress. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More 8th Edition Battles - Tyranids Galore!

More games of 8th edition today and this time with Dan. We've played with and against each other during the big games we've had at various times but this is the first time we've met up for a gaming session between the two of us. Insane really because Dan lives closer to me than anyone else I game with!! Anyway, Dan hadn't played 8th yet so we started off with a couple of 1K kill point games before ramping it up to 2K for a grand finale. Dan was playing Tyranids in all three games but with wildly different lists to try out as much as possible.

Before I go any further I just notice that this is post number 701! Shame I didn't notice before the last post but still that's an insane number considering how many words that must be in total!! Imagine what I could've achieved if I'd put that time into painting instead of blogging! Actually, probably better not to think about that.

Game One - Wolves vs. Tyranids
I had a mostly infantry list consisting of blood claws, wulfen skyclaws, long fangs and a ven dread. Wanted to test out a few things basically. First up how missile launchers perform in 8th and secondly how viable dreadnoughts actually are without a pod. Dan had Old One Eye, a couple of fexes, a tervigon with a blob of gaunts (20 devourer, 10 fleshborer - cunning!) and two squads of 'stealers.

I got the first turn and charged forward trying to stay far enough away to avoid a charge but not so far that I wouldn't get to charge in my turn. Needless to say I completely misjudged this. The carnifexes couldn't make it into combat but Old One Eye was able to get stuck into the dread and his monstrous scything talons made short work of the dread with the 3 damage per hit. The 'stealers covered a lot of ground with their advance then charge and easily wiped out the skyclaws with a few rending hits.

The wulfen then charged into Old One Eye but couldn't quite kill him before the fexes and 'stealers joined in. The blood claws waded into combat with the termagants but couldn't kill enough to stop the tervigon simply replacing them. Meanwhile the long fangs couldn't bring down the tervigon fast enough which meant the gaunts held up the blood claws long enough for the 'stealers to join in and seal their fate. When all the combats had been resolved Dan had achieved a tabling with his first game of the new edition.

Game Two - T'au vs. Tyranids
This is my first game with T'au in this edition and I thought I'd try out a mix of things that will probably make it into my larger lists. I'd got kroot, a strike team in a 'fish, Longstrike and another hammerhead and a twin-missile/flamer crisis team. Dan had two squads of 5 warriors each accompanied by a prime, 5 zoanthropes, 2 pyrovores and more 'stealers!

The Tau first turn was pretty ineffective with just one warrior dying. It was clear it would be slow progress using the Hammerheads to take them down one at a time. I forgot to bring my suits in on turn one too! The Tyranid shooting was effective in removing the kroot (thanks to morale) and then made short work of the pathfinders. Meanwhile the fire warriors disembarked and made short work of the 'stealers on the right and then a warrior unit with help from their 'fish. The crisis team appeared and easily wiped out some 'stealers on the left. The zoanthropes weren't bad but simply couldn't do enough damage to the hammerheads quick enough.

When the crisis team also dealt with the rest of the warriors (having survived combat and fallen back to do so) we decided it wasn't worth carrying on as the T'au would eventually be victorious but it wouldn't be a lot of fun getting to that point. One game a piece then heading into the grand finale.

Game Three - Drukhari (DE) vs. Tyranids
My Drukhari had been pretty underwhelming in my game against Matt's IK and Leman Russes. I'd changed my list up a bit but tried not to go too OTT as Dan was still getting to grips with 8th. The main difference was ditching the haywire blasters on the scourges in favour of regular blasters (although I've yet to convert them) and generally increasing the amount of darklight weaponry in the list. I'd got a raider with grotesques, an archon and Urien, three venoms with warriors, three ravagers, a razorwing jetfighters, a unit of scourges and two 3-man reaver squads. Dan had Swarmy with some tyrant guard, a blob of devourer termagants, a blob of hormagaunts and a broodlord. He then had two trygons and a trygon prime in reserve who would bring up a couple of 17-strong genestealer units (the only unit Dan featured in every list and for good reason). We played Retrieval Mission to keep things simple.

Dan should've gone first but I managed to Seize. I brought down the Scourges and Dan realised too late that he'd left the broodlord exposed on his left flank. He quickly succumbed to blaster fire despite Dan attempting a command re-roll of his invulnerable save. Meanwhile the rest of the army focused in on the Swarmlord and managed to kill off the tyrant guard and lay in a couple of wounds on the big guy. The flyer also killed off a hive guard.

Dan brought in all three of his tunnelling trygons. This was made difficult by how spread out my army was which severely limited his options for deployment. Only one Trygon out of three (and neither genestealer unit) managed the 9" charge and Dan needed a command re-roll to get that! It made short work of a ravager though. The scourges glory was shortlived as the devourer termagants cut them to ribbons. The hormagaunts ripped through the grotesques' raider but Swarmy was left impotent as a result. He piled into the grotesques but couldn't strike. The grotesques then cut through plenty of hormagaunts. The trygons and genestealers were left in a vulnerable position and the ravagers simply backed off to finish off a trygon whilst the reavers, venoms and kabalites worked on the stealers. With no synapse they took further losses to morale too. The reavers charged in and finished them off.

The trygon prime headed forward now and killed a raider and consolidated into the occupants. It wasn't looking great for the Tyranids at this point with just Swarmy, two depleted units of gaunts, the trygon prime and two hive guard left. It got even worse when I decided my best option was to fall back out of the combat with Swarmy and with the Prime. This proved fatal for Swarmy who was cut down by the vemons and ravagers. The gaunts took heavy casualties and found themselves out of synapse meaning they quickly vanished thanks to the razorwing. One of the ravagers also managed to line up for shots on the hive guard who were then charged by the remaining arena champion from the reavers who finished the last one off.

That left the trygon prime all on his own against the vast majority of the Drukhari army. When he failed to down a ravager it was clear the beast wouldn't get long to regret it and we finished the evening as we started, a tabling!

There's no doubt the first game would've been totally different if I'd held back. The long fangs would've got a couple of turns worth of shooting into the tervigon before the gaunts got into range. Equally the speed of the genestealers would've meant that they'd hit first and be dealt with before the carnifexes would get involved. Still, it isn't very wolfy to stand back and shoot and it made for a dramatic game that was over quickly and gave us enough time to get three in.

I think Dan was expecting Orks in the second game so he'd intentionally not brought big monsters to the party. That proved frustrating for Longstrike who was forced into taking out a single warrior per turn rather than inflicting more dramatic damage on a big monster. Still, the single shot from the railguns doesn't feel particularly effective and I think you'd need to use Longstrike to make it even close to viable. Not writing them off after just one game but still, not blown away.

Pathfinders are interesting. Markerlights are quite different now but a single hit is a nice bonus. With everything being able to split fire, a unit of Pathfinders can get you a marker hit on several different enemy units. The markers aren't spent anymore either and nothing says a unit can't benefit from its own markers now (unless I've missed something). It isn't really worth getting 2-3 hits either and cover isn't what it was so 4 hits are barely worth it. Getting 5 hits would be nice but you'd need 10 pathfinders (on average) to get this. Basically think of them as the equivalent of some characters in other armies. Light up as many units as you can with just a single hit.

Having plenty of darklight weaponry is definitely the way to go with Drukhari. Ravagers are pretty much a must-have and I really liked the flyer too. I thought it'd be pretty tricky to use as you can't fly it off the board and have to start it on the table now. However, with no more fire arcs (and therefore the opportunity to fire backwards) it was really easy to both keep it on the board and keep it firing. Flyers are going to be excellent even if they're now easier to hit.

Speaking of things that can fly. In both the Drukhari game and the T'au game it was abundantly clear that being able to fall back and still shoot with the FLY keyword is huge. Falling back at the right moment is generally pretty brutal if you've got enough other units in firing range but when your ravager can simply fall back from combat and open up at full power it becomes a pretty terrifying prospect.

The trygons were a bit of a mixed bag really. I hadn't particularly thought about it but the way I advanced my army made it really difficult for Dan to even find space to bring them in. Makes me wonder about drop pods too. Having to stay 9" away is a pretty big footprint and a savvier player than me would make it really difficult for you to bring them down anywhere useful. Shooting units probably fare better coming in this way though.

I still think Tyranids can be great in 8th edition though. Drukhari will always be a tough matchup as the amount of poisoned and darklight weaponry they can pump out is disgustingly good against monsters. Hordes would be a tricky prospect mind you and they'd do reasonably well against the Drukhari vehicles. Ultimately I think a balanced list is the way to go. You need some big guys to bring some hurt in combat but hordes, genestealers and big shooty beasts have a role to play. I'm looking forward to getting my Tyranids painted (more on that soon).

Finally, I promised review posts for every faction in the indexes but since GW announced this week that there'll be "10 new codexes by Christmas" it seems daft to spend time reviewing when a lot of it will be obsolete pretty quickly. Instead I'll just review each book as it comes out and stick to posts like this based on actual gaming.


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