Monday, 25 October 2010

16 & 17: Tales of a Splinter Fleet

Goodbye old Friend!
My first month at university has been very busy.  Unfortunately before I got a chance to post up my last two Tyranid games my computer decided to fry itself.  I lost the outline write up of both games along with all the photos, and all the software I had installed on the computer.  Since I do not have the time to write them all up again I am just going to post the highlights.

Game Sixteen: 1750 Points vs Ultramarines
Dawn of War, Seize Ground (5 Objectives)
I played double Dakka Tyrant list and Red Orc played his usual Chaplain lead foot marines.
Chaplain and assault marines spent a whole turn fighting the Tervigon with no wounds being inflicted before Daddy stomped over and won the battle. On the other side of the table the Terminators were giving me trouble. Six of them killed Junior even with only having Weapon Skill one! Start of turn five saw the marines only having 5 Marines (2 Devs w/ ML, 2 Tacs with ML and one with Bolter) and 5 Terminators left. I held three objectives. By the end of the turn Mummy was dead and the Terminators had overrun a second objective so I just scrapped a 1-0 victory.

Game Seventeen: 1750 Points vs Orks
Spearhead, Capture and Control.
Expecting a lot of melee I took Swarmlord & a Dakka Tyrant. Orks seized the initiative and rolled the battle wagons forward. Deffcopotors put three wounds on Mummy and a few gaunts died. After that the green tide was turned. Tyranid shooting destroyed both wagons and a Khan then steamrollered forward throught boys and mega-nobs. Genestealers arived turn three and eat the looters then ate the Nobs on the objective turn four. At the end of turn four the Orks had a Warboss, one Deffcoptor (fleeing), One Kill-Khan (Immobile, no gun). I had only lost a unit of Hive guard, some cannon fodder gaunts. Mummy had even managed to regenerate her wounds! Since I had both objectives we did not both playing turn five. 2-0 win for the hive mind.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Undead Project: Raising the Dead

Horde of Zombies!
My wife is at work; My 1500 word paper is written; Cassandra is playing with her train set. I actually have a few hours to play with my toy soldiers! Of course by the time I had got myself set up on the table, my assistant has given up playing trains and is trying to hack one of the sprues apart with the pliers...

Mantic's Zombies
Each sprue has parts for three full zombies and two bits allowing you do make four possible zombies from each sprue. There are 10 sprues in a box although I had an extra one as an appology for a shipping error they made. Mantic had said the zombies would be compatible with their ghoul range so I decided to see about mixing a few ghoul parts into the horde and see if I could make forty zombies from a single box.

Sadly the size of the hip joints on the ghouls is not quite the same as the zombies so the parts do not mix very well together. At least the meat cleaver and other spare weapons from the ghouls where useful in adding some extra variety to the zombies. I found I loved the style of the 'legless' zombie pulling itself along the ground so much that there were still a couple of pairs of legs left when I had finished. Since I still had some spinal columes I just made more! So I finished with 42 zombies.

Pictures of the infantry
I made one zombie who was missing a head and in the process of putting in back on. His buddies can be seen in the background lurching around. To help with the limited number of poses I used a craft knife and repositioned some of the arms at shoulder or elbow.

These are the two ghoul torsos together with a group of spinal-tap zombies. The ghouls have zomibe head and hands to help them fit in to the group. Also pictures is my zombie champion rebuilding himself from bits after having lost a fight. You can not see it in the photo but there are some severed hands crawling along with the spinal-tap zombies.

Here you can see the extra weapons added; meat cleaver; dagger; rake-hand, together with a row of legless zombies. As well as the champion above I made six of these crawling minions.

The last of the shambling horde. Corpse at the back is holding up a second head that is looking around for its body. The way the parts combine means some of these are really hunched over. Fortunately with a half-zombies in front of them they still rank up.

I pre-ordered the zombie horde when they were advertised as a box of 50. Since they then changed the size to 60 and with half-zombies you could make a possible 80. I therefore sold off my second box as I did not need that many! In the end I spent £14 on a box, which with the free sprue made me 40 zombies; which equates to 0.35p per zombie!

I would say that pushing a single 'thirty zombie' box all the way to 40 models is a bit of a stretch since you would end up with a lot of spinal-tap zombies. I would expect most people to get 35 models from a box. The extra models are great for raising the dead in WHFB but not much use for Mantic's own KoW rules (they have fixed unit sizes) unless you buy six boxes to get enough spares for a whole regiment.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Uppsala Legion

My friends Ultramarine army is still very much a third edition gun-line. Sadly this is not that effective with the latest fifth edition game rules. Ultramarines still have a few nice options, mostly involving tanks, however Space Wolves and Blood Angels do foot armies better. So we are relaunching the marines as the Uppsala Legion, from the planet Schveeden!

The Ultramarines @ 1750
Chaplain with Jump Pack leading Assault Marines with Fist & Flamers
Terminators x10 with two heavy weapons
3 Tactical Squads with Flamer, Missiles & Fist in Rhinos
Devastator Squad with 4 Missile Launchers
11+ Kill Points; 10 Terminators, 46 Marines, 4 Vehicles

Two main problems have been hampering the army. First the Dreadnought, being the only armour, just dies too quickly. Secondly they just get raped by psychic powers. The answer to both these problems is to replace the Dreadnought with a Librarian in Terminator armour. We would have to drop an upgrade from one of the units to get his armour; however since we are converting to Space Wolves what we drop does not matter at the moment. So our aim today is to convert the army to use the Wolf codex without buying any extra models. There is going to be a few bits of extra wargear that we are going to have to kitbash

Uppsala Legion - Phase One
First of all we just want to convert the units over as closely as we can to the Space Wolf units. A like for like conversion gives a few things to consist. With the loss of combat squads we have to decide now if we want five or ten man troop units. Grey Hunters also lack any heavy weapon options. While this makes them better on the move you lack the option of leaving a missile launcher with four ablative wounds guarding the home objective. If however you add a Wolf Guard squad leader he can bring Cyclone missiles. Not only does this mean you get two shots per turn but you can move and fire as well. We will take thirty marines as troops and organise them into four squads.

Rune Priest would most likely take Lighting and Hurricane. The first can take care of light armour and monsters the second deals with hordes and slows their movement. Jaws is also worth considering (especially if you know your opponent is going to be playing Tyranids).

1750 Uppsala Legion
130 Rune Priest with Terminator Armour, Chooser of the Slain
135 Wolf Priest with Jump Pack, Wolftooth Necklace
460 Terminator Wolf Guard x8 with Power Fist x4, Wolf Claw x4
190 Wolf Guard x4 w/ Combi-melta x4, Rhino
220 Grey Hunters x10 w/ Melta x2, Power Weapon, Wulfen Mark, Rhino
215 Grey Hunters x10 w/ Flamer x2, Power Weapon, Wulfen Mark, Rhino
75 Grey Hunters x5 w/ Flamer & Wolf Guard Sgt in Terminator Armour w/ CML & Wolf Claw
75 Grey Hunters x5 w/ Flamer & Wolf Guard Sgt in Terminator Armour w/ CML & Wolf Claw
110 Skyclaws x5 with Flamer, Power Weapon
140 Long Fangs x6 with 5x Missiles & Wolf Guard Sgt in Terminator Armour w/ CML
13 Kill Points; 12 Terminators, 46 Marines, 3 APC's

In the above list the unit cost for the Wolf Guard includes the men reassigned as leaders. Since this is done at the start of the game you do not have to attach them to other units. We still have three squads in APC's that can surge forward while leaving two scoring units protecting our home base. We are also still able to fire eleven missiles a turn. We have lost out on power fists (both the number and units with them). However the Wolves have a lot more flamer and melta weapons as well as shear volume of melee attacks.

Uppsala Legion - Phase Two
There is a second Devastator Squad in the army case and since Long Fangs are so good we might as well use them; also Skyclaws do not really help that much. This time around we have replaced the Skyclaws with Long Fangs and used the points remaining to boost the Wolf Guard unit since the Wolf Priest will now be leading them.

1749 Uppsala Legion
130 Rune Priest with Terminator Armour, Chooser of the Slain
110 Wolf Priest with Wolftooth Necklace
460 Terminator Wolf Guard x8 with Power Fist x4, Wolf Claw x4
229 Wolf Guard x8 w/ Power Fist & Combi-Flamer x2, Pistol & Sword x6 in Rhino
220 Grey Hunters x10 w/ Melta x2, Power Weapon, Wulfen Mark, Rhino
220 Grey Hunters x10 w/ Melta x2, Power Weapon, Wulfen Mark, Rhino
75 Grey Hunters x5 w/ Flamer & Wolf Guard Sgt in Terminator Armour w/ CML & Wolf Claw
75 Grey Hunters x5 w/ Flamer & Wolf Guard Sgt in Terminator Armour w/ CML & Wolf Claw
115 Long Fangs x5 with 4x Missiles
115 Long Fangs x5 with 4x Missiles
13 Kill Points. 11 Terminators, 49 Marines, 3 APC's

I like this configuration better. Twelve missiles split between six targets each turn is a decent amount of long range dakka. The Terminators act as a hammer unit support by three APC's full of marines. I am not sure if the Grey Hunters would be better off with Flamer & Melta; I just like having the double shot as it is so annoying when a single melta misses.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Mantic Open Day

Today we got to visit Mantic Towers in Nottingham and meet the talent behind the toy solider company. The show was across two floors. The first floor had two gaming tables for learning to play Kings of War as well as tables to meet the sculptor and artists. The second floor was the store together with a couple of display cases. I got to see some work in progress on the Ork army (due out next spring) as well as seeing one of the new plastic-resin Knights and WWII Zombies!

Dwarf King

Plastic-resin Knight
I asked Ronnie about these. Apparently the resin plastic is a half way product between metal and normal plastic. Ten Knights should cost £20

WWII Zombies
Warlord plastic nazis with Mantic zombie parts. A new idea they are working on.

Lich King raising a minion

Ork Warrior - Work in progress

Ork boar rider - Work in progress

Skeleton Archers
These are half metal/half plastic figures to keep the cost down. They are using the same plastic legs as the other undead models with a metal body.

Kings of War(hammer)

Kings of War is Mantics own war-gaming rules system. It has been written by Alessio Cavatore (the man behind 5th Edition Warhammer 40k). I got to play one game with my friend; who was so impressed with both the figures and game he went and purchased the Dwarf army afterwards! The game design is very similar to its main rival - Warhammer Fantasy. It is a turn based system with each player having a Movement, Shooting and Melee phase. Troops are organised into ranked units with individual characters roaming around separately.

The main difference with the game is how damage is resolved. Instead of removing models as a unit takes damage you use tokens, or dice, to track the total damage. Then the unit takes a Nerve test (similar to a Warhammer morale test) with a modifier based on the total damage inflicted. This means that a unit could brake having only taken a couple of points of damage or it could stay steadfast with twenty wounds (and a roll of snake eyes). In our practice game it took my Elven King three turns to kill a regiment of Dwarfs, but my Knights crumbled with only three points of damage. The game took ten turns with the last couple of them being just the characters battling it out as all the troops, and war machines, were dead. The game was very fast paced and even with us learning as we played only took a half hour.