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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Basing: Before or After?

Posting has been a bit slow.  I started a new job, which is taking more than the bulk of my time and attention at the moment.  I also don't want to post stuff up just to be filler, so as things settle down I hope to create more "quality" content.  We shall see. 

The question I want to throw out to you, the gentle reader, is about basing.  I've always painted my model first, and then based.  While it was be a bit messy, with a bit of practice I avoid getting much of anything on the model itself.  But I hear people swear by basing first.  My fear is that I wouldn't get the model attached to the base properly with the basing material attached.  So I hoped to get a little feedback here.  What do you do, and what are the benefits?  Can you assuage my fear or prebasing? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't Forget to Stomp!

If there's one thing that I've forgotten to do in Eighth Edition consistently, it's to Stomp.  There seems to be at least one rule per edition of Warhammer Fantasy that I always forget, and stomping seems to be it this edition.  Considering it's kind of important, I'd like to remember.  Back in Seventh Edition, I could never remember the building rules.  Of course, we didn't play with many buildings, so that worked out.  I'm not going to have that luxury with stomping. 

In my game against Ian the other day, her forgot to Thunderstomp with two Varghulfs.  It probably cost him a combat.  We didn't realize that he forgot until it was far too late, and we were already packed up with a massacre recorded in my favor.  It might have made a huge difference, and it might not, but it was a huge realization. 

I'm trying to think of solutions to help myself remember.  Perhaps I'll write a note in my lists, or paint the bases of my larger models in a bright color.  Maybe I'll just write a reminder on a piece of paper...and staple it to my forehead.   This should help until somehow I remember this tiny but important rule. 

Does anyone else have any rules that just won't stick?  If so, how did you deal with them.  I'm not quite ready to head to the rest home. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rebalancing in Eighth - From Old and Busted to the New Hotness

One of the things I'm enjoying most about Eighth Edition is the complete rebalancing of armies that has occurred.  Unless you're new to the game, you'll remember the lovely army power tiers from last edition.  Some books were just miles better at using Seventh Edition rules, with Daemons at the very top all the way to Ogres and Orcs at the bottom of the heap. 

Eighth Edition, I'm sure, has it's own tiers that will shake out eventually.  Some army books, such as High Elves and Lizardmen, sure look scary out of the gate, and it's not like Dark Elves really got worse.  For the most part, however, things seem more balanced overall.  Part of this might be that the game is still in its infancy, and people are trying out a variety of lists, with all sorts of fun things making it to the table.  No army really seems to be in terrible shape, however, as long as you ignore the internet hysterics and the theoreticians who don't actually play.

Last week, I got to play Brian with his Orcs and Goblins.  I had my Dark Elves.  In Seventh, Dark Elves would have been a top tier army, and Orcs on the bottom.  The Druchii would have had a ton of advantages, at least on paper.  In Eighth, Brian's Orcs were scary stuff!  He had a variety of good, cheap Lords and Heroes, magic that worked out great for him, and tons and tons of Orc Boyz.  He broke my big blocks of troops, fed me cheap garbage, and sniped my main mage out with a stone thrower.  Yikes!

It ended up being a lot of fun, and reminded me that Eighth is a whole new ball game.  So here's to Orcs, and all the other armies that suffered for years.  Now they're the new hotness!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eighth Edition Comp Considerations

We're considering several comp. restrictions here for tournaments.  Unlike 7th, the basic Eighth Edition has some issues at the moment.   Seventh had problems, but they were in the army books.  I would love to get some feedback from outside our local forums on this, so please go nuts in the comments section.  Here are some basic ideas, cribbed liberally from Australia:

1.  Remove the Power Scroll

2.  No Special Characters

3.  No single items that are greater than or equal to 100 points. 

And then the ones with options:

This seems to be generating the most discussion in other threads post Pilgrimage so I'll start here. It was also the single largest issue in the unbalancing of games. In the last edition, the restrictions/comp systems developed were an effort to balance armies out so that the best general, and not the extreme powered army, should win most games. What I saw on the weekend was that in about 10 out of 43 games EVERY round there were devastating big spells that removed generalship from the equation and annihilated characters and units from the table. the were games where the first one to roll a double 6 would win. of those 10, 5 would be over in the first few turns from such spells. In others, the superior general of a game would be on top, winning by a big margin, and all the opponent needed to do was roll a double six on a purple sun/ dwellers below, etc and characters and units would disappear and the game reversed to a big win to the lucky but poorer general of that match. We've all heard stories of this happening every now and then in the last edition, but in 8th its a regular occurrence. I think it will be too problematic to re-write some of these power spells so instead, in the name of balancing the game, they should be omitted. However, you might have a different idea, so below are your vote options.
A. Do NOT allow the most powerful spell from each deck/15+ spells
B. Modify these spells to tone them down but so they can still be used
C. Use these spells as they currently are

The GW FAQ ruled that the 12 power dice limit was the amount of dice that could be in the pool at any one time, but there was no limit on the number of dice that could be rolled in a magic phase of dice continued to be generated, such as from dark elf daggers/spells, death lore casualties, Slann extra dice, etc. At The Pilgrimage we set a 12 dice allowed to be rolled limit in both power and dispell dice and am glad we did, even without the power spells more than 12 dice would unbalance the game.
A. Use a 12 dice rolled limit per phase
B. Have no limit on the dice rolled per phase as per rule book

War machines are a lot more effective than they used to be, they no longer require range guessing skill to use and there are no partials but some are much worse than others. 3-4 elven bolt throwers are no where as effective as 3-4 tooled up Empire/Dwarf war machines. We used a 5 war machine cap at The Pilgrimage with the steam Tank counting as one. Because of their effectiveness I believe they need to be pulled back a tad more, I would suggest 4 War machine models max.
A. Cap Warmachines to 4 max
B. Cap Warmachines to 5 max
C. Do not cap Warmachines

There are 6 Pitched Battles now, at The Pilgrimage we used Battle Line, Battle for the Pass and Meeting Engagement, twice each. This favoured armies with shooting and magic as in 2 of these scenarios you can have a very deep deployment where a combat army will have to trudge across a lot of table while getting shot at. If we had used all 6 scenarios these shooty armies would not have been able to compete in scenarios like Blood and Glory where the deployment is very compact and forces you to have many standards or The Watch Tower where you need to take a building to win the game. Using the 6 scenarios would have forced a more balanced army build.
A. Play All scenarios
B. Play selected scenarios (list which ones)
C. Play only Battleline

There was a lot of discussion on this pre-event, but during the event it seemed to have very little impact. There might be a story here or there of how a monster could not hide from a cannon and so on, but overall, people seemed happy with the way it works. The very few comments I heard from players related to their concern for abuse, where some people might have non GW models that get an advantage by being smaller. We could easily get around this by saying that all models are considered to be of the equivalent GW size and if there are any doubts the situation goes against the person not using the non GW size model.
A. Use TLOS as per rule book
B. Set heights for terrain (such as hills being infinitely high)
C. Set heights for models (such as models hiding equal or smaller size base models behind them)
D. Use both B & C

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just a Bug on A Windshield

You ever have one of those games when the dice just refuse to like you?  I had one the other day vs. one of our local players, Lance, and his Dwarfs.  We didn't take pictures, but if you can imagine me as the bug in the picture above, I think that would make sense.

Lance and I both set up pretty evenly around the middle area of the table.  Sadly, he went first, and splattered one of my two Hydras immediately (a feat he would do again in the second round, and to a chariot in the third).  Meanwhile, my Crossbowmen fired over 200 shots into a unit of ten quarellers over four rounds of shooting, and killed four in total.  In the end, the same quarellers helped run them down with the help of some Longbeards.

Meanwhile, some bad decisions and atrocious rolling tarpitted my 60 spears, general, and BSB on fourteen hammerers, where I netted about six wounds in five rounds.  Yeesh!

In the end, Lance made good, conservative decisions, and I did not, so I suppose the dice were punishing my aggressive nature.  The funny thing is that Lance is a fun opponent, and was relaxed, so that this was one of my most fun games of Eighth, even if I was being pummeled by fate.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To Horde or Not to Horde

One of the most interesting questions for me so far in Eighth Edition has been whether or not to use the horde formation.  Bringing units ten wide and a million models deep sure sounds epic, but it's taken a while for me to come to grips with doing so in practice.

At first, hording units seemed to have little upside.  Sure, an extra rank gets to attack, but in general, the cost of having enough troops for that to happen is way to high and is not cost effective.  We can't all play Skaven or Goblins!

It's quickly become apparent to me, however, that the horde has better qualities that aren't apparent at first glance.  Eighth Edition seems to really be about the concept of points denial.  Preventing others from killing your units and then eeking out victories by holding onto your points while damaging the other army is what it's all about.  This is due to the new concepts of units not giving up any points until all of their models are dead, combined with the new steadfast rule, which keeps big units from running away easily. 

These concepts make hordes of troops (if not always in horde formation) golden.  Sixty Dark Elf Spearmen (especially with a Cauldron Ward Save) is murder for other armies to chew through in cc.  I wish I owned more.  They die slowly, and refuse to give up a single point until every one of them is dead.  Heck, they can be fleeing at the end of a game and not give up any points. 

Personally, I've been enjoying taking a large unit of Dark Elf Crossbowmen tend wide, and then switching them to five wide if close combat threatens, in order to be steadfast.   It's been pretty successful, and has earned me a few wins, along with the extra large block of spears, by husbanding my points carefully.  I haven't quite mastered it, but am getting there slowly.

Now, if only there was an effective job for my poor Dark Riders!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why So Serious?

Lately, I've been pondering a less competitive-minded outlook on Warhammer Fantasy.  Maybe it's Eighth, or maybe I'm just getting old, but I'm starting to look at tournaments as more about just going and playing some Warhammer than about the struggle to win or lose.  Not that I don't want to try, but it seems that right now the game may be a bit more about list making than it used to be, and I'm not sure I want to pack the super doom cheese list every time I go out.  So I'm thinking about new things.

I got into things a long time ago to assemble cool models, do my best job painting them, and to play out the cool ideas in my head on an actual board.  The Games Workshop folks really want to push their game as a casual, cup of tea drinking type game, and perhaps I should stop fighting them so hard in trying to find balance and such.  Instead, I could work to enjoy the parts of the game that I got into the hobby for.

So I'll give it a try.  I'll make some scenarios, try to build some terrain, and work at finding some fellow crazy folk to try out something new and fluffy.  I'm not going to stop going to tournaments and such, and I sure as heck haven't lost my will to play hard and win, but maybe trying another tack will add some spice.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Island of Blood Sails In

My local store got its Island of Blood in this past Tuesday, and promptly doled them out!  I picked some copies up, and man is it nice!  I plan on building a nice Skaven and High Elf foundation from some boxes, and passing the rest on to Ebay.  I'll put up some links when the auctions are made.

Auctions are here:  http://shop.ebay.com/btuite1/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

The box set contains several things I really like.  Having a small rulebook is a fantastic thing, considering the enormous size and weight of the hardcover version.  More dice and templates are always welcome, as I'm always losing my scatter dice and templates at tournaments.  Every one of the sculpts is fantastic and highly detailed, and could be a centerpiece to an army.