Wednesday, November 30, 2011

40k faction suggestion

I was just thinking about this, what I believe is missing from 40K is a faction like Mercenaries or Rogue Traders or something to that effect.

See, I originally wanted a Space Marines/Grey Knights/Sororitas army, because they have very cool models. An entire army of Space Marines is just the same 3 models over and over: marine, scout, terminator. Grey Knights, or at least Grey Knight Terminators, are amazing models - easily the best 40K armoured infantry in my opinion, and the SoB also have some very nice models (plus both factions allow you to take almost any models for inquisitors and henchmen), but I wouldn't want to buy, paint, or field an entire army of only one of them. So the old 'allies' rule seemed quite cool, but now it's gone and with it the chance of variety.

Yes, you can still take inquisitors and henchmen in a Grey Knight army, so I guess that's the way to go if all you want is a variety of different models. But I'm thinking of something more. An army where you can mix humans of all sizes with xenos of all shapes and colours. Something with a touch of the elitism of Space Marines (without the power armor), the range of styles possible to Imperial Guard (without being so weak and numerous or meched-up), and the visual interest and appeal of various aliens.

I'm thinking humans with more character and ability than IG. Perhaps "elite" troops would have WS4 BS4 S3 T3 W1 I4 A2 Ld8, that sort of thing, with lots of wargear and rules that cause re-rolls, to make up for their low strength and toughness and armour. Normal troops can have regular Guard stats, but a specific purpose like heavy weapons. Of course the Elites would include psykers, heavily armoured or enhanced warriors, or specialists with special wargear like snipers.

That's just the regular humans. It can also include mutants, rogue marines (defectors from either side), Ork mercenaries like the Flash Gits, Tau rogue Tau, Dark Eldar pirates, enigmatic Eldar Warlocks working towards a purpose only they understand, or Tau defectors, reprogrammed Necrons, perhaps even pet Tyranids (I'm thinking their minds have been dominated by psykers or their brains wired or replaced, like servitors).

There's a huge range of possible vehicles, with Imperial, Tau and Eldar all having some great stuff. It will probably go the ork route of having a general description of the vehicle, with a number of analogues actually being possible in modelling terms (eg a "hovering transport" will have certain rules and stats, the player can then chose between, say, a Tau Hammerhead, an Eldar Wave Serpent, or a Marine Land-Speeder model). Actually, this same idea could be applied to infantry units as well, so a unit of scouts could use Marine scouts or Pathfinder models, and each has slightly different rules or wargear (the same as sniper scouts and combat scouts play differently and are visually differentiated by their wargear). This would create variety without needing an obscene range or units.

I guess the real reason behind this idea is to create an army that is fun for people who like painting or modelling individual models, rather than large numbers of the same model over and over. You can get nicely matched models in a unit, but there's no need to ever paint more than one unit of the same model. In fact, to enforce this (and to provide a counterbalance to the large variety of units available), the codex may stipulate that you cannot have two of the same unit (or possibly you can but they need to be different races, like the Scouts and Pathfinders example above). I know that there's a fair number of people who would like an army with no spam. Or just enforce a different maximum for each unit, the way some codices do (or did? I'm thinking Inquisitor Lords in the previous Grey Knights).

Anyway, I might actually try to come up with a few rules for this army. I think I'd put most units as troops, to allow for said variety without too many unnecessary rules - instead the limits on individual units will prevent spam. It might even be worth getting rid of the army composition chart altogether. The problem is I'm really only familiar with the Space Marines and Orks codices (and some other power-armoured variants). I'll start with those anyway, and pick units or create my own based on them. Of course I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, November 25, 2011

First real game

Tonight I played my first real game of 40K (at least the first one in about 10 years). I ran a vanilla Marines list I threw together which had the main virtue of being mainly composed of models that I actually have painted (though there were a few "counts-as"):

Chaplain Sebastian w/ terminator armour, combi-melta, melta bomb: 140
Tactical Squad, 5 man, power fist (Fistandantilus), plasma pistol: 130
Tactical Squad, 5 man, power weapon, plasma pistol, melta bomb: 125
Dreadnought: 105
Total: 500 pts

My opponent played orcs, he clearly had a much larger army with him but he played using:

Big Mek, Custom Force Field
15 Orks, power claw
15 Orks, power claw
I don't know:
Battlewagon or something with a roller
Some form of smaller truck

His army was very well painted, it certainly looked far far better than mine - his big truck thing was a converted Land Raider, for example. We decided to play annihilation since it was simplest, and we forgot to count the number of turns so we basically played until everyone was dead. By the end of it my Dreadnought was the only thing still alive, so I won 5 killpoints to 3. I believe he took it easy on me (he didn't take any anti-tank, for one thing, so he didn't have much to hit my dread with, and his Mek was mostly wasted), and I did get some very lucky dice rolls (at one point he rolled 4 ones to hit with his power claw against my dread, and every damage roll was a 1).

Sebastian was not terribly effective at all (I expected this going in, he's not suited for the army but he was the only painted HQ model I have). Fistandantilus missed all three power-fist attacks in his one turn of combat then got flattened by the roller. The Dread missed a LOT of hits (two attacks really isn't much, even when they're I4 S10 power attacks), but also wrecked both vehicles and whittled down a squad of Boys until the remnants of one of my tac squads could jump in.

So what did I learn? Well, for one thing, even such a small game can be very unpredictable and take longer than you would think. Even a 5 man Space Marine squad can hold out a while against an Ork charge, with a little luck. A Dread is quite a force to be reckoned with if his opponents aren't tooled up properly.

Well, I had fun, hopefully I'll play more games in the future (though it will still take a while to get more painted model in).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sebastian competes with the big boys

Last weekend there was a mini painting competition at the local GW. It seems they run it every month, 'Brotherhood of the Brush' I believe it's called. This one was for 40K independent character or unit. I asked if I could enter a mini painted some months back and they didn't have a problem with it, so I entered Sebastian.

I certainly wasn't expecting to win. While Sebastian is probably my best work to date, I'm still using very basic techniques and simple colours, I've seen so much better on the internet and in this very store. Besides, the varnish I used on him is now noticeably a little cloudy, so he doesn't look as good as he used to.

Needless to say I didn't win. In fact I didn't get to see the winning model, but I saw a couple of others in the competition that were pretty impressive so I have no doubt that the winner deserved it. Having said that, I got a couple of good comments about Sebastian, so overall it was encouraging. I think I'll try to enter the next competition, which is apparently any single mini so at least I won't have any trouble meeting the requirements.

In other news, I've just received a"cold heat" soldering iron that I got off ebay for a decent price. It's battery-operated, which alone makes it very attractive (I hate the stupid cables sticking off the back of traditional soldering irons - also it uses regular AAs, which I actually prefer to custom batteries because it means it doesn't need a dedicated power adapter or charger), plus it has a very short distance from grip to tip so it should be MUCH better than my current model for soldering small parts. But the big deal is supposed to be that it reaches high temperatures almost instantly when you actually touch it to the component, so it might help solve the problems I had last time with getting the solder to stick to the components. Hopefully I'll get to try it this weekend. Fingers crossed.