Monday, January 21, 2013

This just in! Nerds rage over FAQ, destroy game stores!

Get the shirt!

If you've played any game we'll all agree that there's that guy, that guy who always tweaks the rules to his or her advantage, they're called "rules lawyers." If you haven't played a Games Workshop game of 40k then you wouldn't know how maddening this can be. There's a lot of interpretation in the rules, and frankly that's sometimes good. However sometimes a rule is so far off, confusing, or just poorly written that the Games Workshop team will issue a FAQ for rules clarification. Not uncommonly this will cause any number of objects to go flying in a pick up game at the FLGS (local game store), and more than a few flipped over tables. Well, ok maybe not that crazy, but you know what I mean. They can be frustrating and confusing. Ultimately you just have to remember, the game is for fun, not for cut throat wins.

So what's the latest FAQ craze sending people into blind rage? One rule to rule them all;
Source, Games-Workshop:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Airbrush incoming - prepping the booth

Ahh... smells like Pine Sol and Febreeze, so nice!
(Credit for the photo goes to the site)

So I've finally taken the plunge and invested in an airbrush setup. Right now it's a very simple setup, and should work fine to get started. Here's what I did purchase;

  1. "Master Airbrush Brand High Performance Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit with 6 Foot Hose and a Powerful 1/6hp Single Piston Quiet A"
  2. Badger Air-Brush Co Sotar 2020-2F
  3. Badger Air-Brush QD Coupler
  4. Iwata-Medea Airbrush Cleaner (8 oz.)
  5. Iwata-Medea Cleaning Station 
  6. 2x 6 foot braided hoses
So I know what you're thinking, a cheap compressor? A cheap airbrush, then a Sotar 2020 brush? Yeah, it's not perfect, however I had a tight $180 budget, so had to work with that and remember that I needed to fit tax and shipping into that price. This was a one time purchase for the time being, so I wanted to jam as much in as possible for $180. That said I had to go with a low power, no tank compressor, something that I can easily upgrade later once I become proficient with the airbrush itself. No need to go buy the brand new sports edition of a car if you're only buying your first car to drive a mile to the train station. Once you start taking trips and have some miles under your belt, then it's time to get that nifty edition. So, I'll save up and pawn this one off for a few bucks a year down the line.

Enough about that though, let's talk about cool stuff. It's cool to have a $390 airbrush at a steal for $75, it's cool to have a little compressor humming along helping you paint. It's definitely not cool to huff atomized acrylics... So what to do? Make a airbrush "booth."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

“Fluff” and getting your own sources

If you’re new to the hobby you may have heard of “fluff.” What is fluff exactly? It’s the background information for a given army and there are many sources for your army’s particular fluff. One source is usually the main rule book of your game, and if your game has codices the game designers will have at least a blurb about the history or goals of your army. In the case of Warhammer 40k Games Workshop has a separate department known as Black Library which through both print and digital delivery publish a great deal of written material on various armies, specific generals and “VIPs” to their universe. They’re more often than not in a novel format, with small stories and combined collections making appearances as well. There’s a fairly large stable of authors who contribute to the library continually making new releases a bi-weekly event.

With all that fluff out there where should you start? In 40k as mentioned before your rulebook and codex likely has some fluff, but where do you start in the Black Library? There’s a lot of information and unfortunately a lot of duds out there. First place is recommendations, ask your peers and your online community. Second would be to go through the Black Library site using their search engine. Obviously Necrons are an interesting topic for me so that’s where I started and landed on Fall of Damnos. I’d not review it as an awesome work of fiction though it’s a ton better than I could ever pull off and has a great deal of action. This is where some people argue these books have little literary value and I can sometimes agree. There are often gratuitous battle scenes outlining all kinds of gory details, not necessarily the stuff for your nine year old to be thumbing through.

You’re likely wondering why I’d knock these books for having so much violence, with taglines like “There is only war” how could I want something more tranquil? Simple, what’s the day to day life of these soldiers? What is life like for the children of the Emperor in these cities? We play out the battles every game we play and we due to some action we can imagine what a lascannon will do to a tank, down to the color of the shot. What’s up with the kids of the Imperium? Do they hunker constantly, or are they even there? Whole ships worth of people are hurtling around in space, and no one gets a rusty tin roof? Seriously? Alas, I’m way off topic, just know that most fluff novels will be akin to watching the Expendables on loop. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it’s not, but that’s what you’ll get in most cases for 40k

So if you don’t want lots of action where to go next? The codex is your next best bet. You’ll get concise information regarding major battles and events and will get highlights from most of your generals. The codices are well done from GW in this way. Don’t forget the web! While some fan written content isn’t the best, others do very well at it so poke around.

Finally, make your own fluff… How? Simple if you’re an old hand at Role Playing Games like Dungeons & Dragons you know this trick. Go and name a character, for me it’s Nemesor Zahndrehk and Illuminor Szeras leading the Nihilahk from the tomb worlds that are being invaded. I play the game then go through and take the game results into a quick synopsis. While there’s a place for battle reports outlining strategy and bad luck there’s also a good open ended zone for making a narrative as you play, and more so after playing. This is one a hobby initiative attempt for this year, let’s see how it pans out.

Do you have some sources for fluff? Share em below.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flyers, building and playing

Sixth Ed definitely has a lot of new tricks for a player to learn, one of which is using flyers, then using them well.

Here's what I've learned so far; Necron flyers (read as any flyer) are nasty pieces of work and frustrate and distract an opponent very nicely. I've learned no one spends points on defenses with skyfire. Skyfire mysterious objectives are scary business when a razorback with twin-linked lascannon rolls into town, and finally a death ray is a wonderful/terrible thing to behold.

Almost done, still have primed-only weapons.

Tactics for me include keeping Zahndrahk on the field and using his Phased Reinforcments rule to great effect getting my flyer on right away since it's essentially a twin-linked reinforcement roll. Why? Because the rule allows me to bring in my reinforcements when you get a successful reserve roll. If you're going first then it's even better, if you don't get reinforcements in then I still get another reserve roll on my turn - worth the price of admission right there for Zahn.

Once on the field the night scythe is a monster and very distracting for the opponent, something moving up to 36" on any battlefield is demoralizing especially when my fire power is stripping hull points as simple infantry (warriors with gauss), a Doomsday cannon is in the backfield dropping large template weapons from 72" away (!) and tesla is arcing everywhere.

I've not found a game type where a flyer is useless and plan to keep playing my flyers as much as possible, especially given their supremely low price to field. (100 points with a warrior squad...)

Building the Necroissant is a lot of fun, I'm the type of hobbyist who prefers vehicles to infantry painting so it's a good time all around, and makes for another post. As you can see from the photo brush strokes are at a bare minimum and there's a lot of work that goes into getting it, though much more patience than sweat equity.

I'm looking forward to sharing pics with the flyer on the field and may just pickup another as I go along.