Sunday, May 30, 2010

Imperial Armour 8 - Elysian list rundown

Here's the skinny on the new Elysian list:

All Elysian units have 'Iron Discipline' - they can always regroup if 6" of an Officer - and Deep Strike (save the Tauros'). All the infantry units may take a Valkyrie as a dedicated transport (the only option).
Points are different, but I'm not getting into that.


Company Command Squad - Basically identical to the codex version, save the Veterans in the squad can be issued with Auxillary Grenade Launchers, and the Commander can get a Homing Beacon. Pretty sweet bits of wargear, huh?

Pitty they forgot to put rules in the book for them (or if they are they're nowhere near the army lists).

The intro section says this is an update for the IA3 list, so maybe they're implying you need that as well as the regular codex? But they have the special rules for the Lascutter and a few other bits of equipment in this one, so who knows.
Oh well - in the last codex the AGL is a one shot krak grenade launcher. I guess the Homing Beacon is like a marine one - no deep strike scatter within 6" or the like.

Lord Commisar - same as the Codex but he can deep strike and get a magic Homing Beacon.

Long Range Ground Scanner - A thematic choice that can either disrupt infiltrators or aid other units in their shooting.


Storm Troopers - same as the Codex, save getting aValk as a transport. Don't have Iron Discipline, so a weaker willed than the Elysians...

Drop Sentinels - Scout Sentinels, but they can only get Heavy Bolters, Multi-meltas or Heavy Flamers.
They can take Sky Talons as transports.

Troops Drop Infantry Platoons - Almost the same as the Codex, but with the aforementioned transport changes and special rules.
- The basic infantry squads can't take heavy weapons teams.
- The Platoon command squad can take a Lascutter (a hefty HtH weapon, though slow).
- They can combine infantry squads.
- No Conscripts
- Can take a Drop Sentinel squad.
- Each squad (be it infantry, speacial or heavy weapon) can take its own Valkyrie.
So the Platoon is 1 HQ, 2-5 infantry squads, 0-4 heavy weapon squads, 0-3 special weapons squads, 0-1 Sentinel squadrons

Veterans - As the Codex, with each vet able to take an AGL. They can take heavy weapons teams and have the same three doctrines available to them. Good for making Harakoni Warhawks.

Dedicated Transports Valkyrie - As per the Codex, but with a note about being a flyer with hover in Apoc.

Fast Attack Vendetta Squadron - As per the Codex, but with a note about being a flyer with hover in Apoc.

Tauros Squadron - The smaller buggy. They come in squadrons of 1-3 with a Heavy Flamer as standard. This can be upgraded to a Heavy 2 grenade launcher. Also have the ability to ignore immobilised results on a 4+ and re-roll difficult terrain.
Can take a Valkyrie Squadron as a transport option - each vehicle takes an individual Valkyrie, and they must remain in coherency while transpoting the Tauros squadron. The implication here is that after they drop the squadron off the Valkyries don't need to maintain coherency (more on this in the Sky Talon entry).

Tauros Venator - The bigger vehicle with a turret (twin-linked multilaser as standard). Can upgrade lasers to lascannons, and has the same immobilisation save as the smaller buggy. Transport option is the Sky Talon.

Cyclops Demolition Vehicle - a demo charge on wheels essentially.

Heavy Support

Vulture Gunship - A valkyrie without the transport to make up for lots of guns and options.

Elysian Sentry Guns - Using the older Tarantula rules, they are automated twin linked heavy bolters or lascannons that have a few targeting restriction options (90 degree arc with long range or 360 with shorter)

Valkyrie Sky Talon - the heavy lift Valkyrie, purchased individually, though they do not use up a slot (but otherwise count as a heavy support choice).
It has the special rule 'Sky Lift': A Sky Talon may transport one Tauros, one Tauros Venator or two Drop Sentinels. The Sky Talons must maintain coherency while transporting a vehicle squadron.
Interesting in that the Tauros mentions taking a 'Valkyrie Squadron' as a transport (indeed the early pictures make a point of it fitting inside one), but no such entry exists. I think the idea was that they could take either, but for whatever reason the regular Valkyrie entry missed a version of the Sky Lift rule clarifying the coherency issue I mentioned above.

But anyway, vehicles transporting vehicles.

Imperial Navy - Thunderbolt or Lightning - These are the same as their Apocalypse counterparts, being only flyers, but there is no mention of them being Apocalypse only (unlike the Valkyries). This creates an interesting conundrum in that should a game allow the IA8 book as a valid choice it would therefore allow a 'flyer' unit into an otherwise normal game of 40k (including them being nigh impossible to shoot down). However the Valkyries would still be normal skimmers, not flyers.
They also have wargear listed with no rules printed (Long barrel Autocannon, Skystrike missiles).

Summary - The list is good, and really makes a perfect airborne force and even has a few different builds available in it.

But, needing to own another two books to use all the options in it is pretty naff. The leaving out of the AGL and Homing Beacon rules is pretty abysmal too (unless I'm just missing them, but I've looked and looked).

Overall I'm sticking with my 7/10 assessment.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Horus Heresy Boardgame - Second Impressions

I played a full game of the Horus Heresy boardgame today, and like my initial impression I am still very impressed.

The game didn't take overly long, about 4 hours, considering it was the first time my opponent (Vash) and I had played fully. We only made a couple of errors (that we noticed) and those mostly related to mixing up the wording of how actions or orders were performed.
We only had to go to the rulebook a couple of times, and then for fairly obscure rules - the 40k equivelant of looking up firing a template weapon at an occupied building.

See, the Primarchs were all super quick growing, but obviously not maturing - the Emperor knew this and figured this whole 'heresy' thing was just Horus' angsty teen rebellion phase. I can see him sitting on his throne, telling Malcador they'll grow out of it - finally he gets sick of it all and does the whole 'don't make me come up there!' thing.

So I didn't take any photos, but here's a pic of the board from BGG I 'borrowed':

For reference the four spaceports are the circular areas marked with white outlines, the palace in the middle, the kidney shaped bits are factories and the grey circles are fortresses. Also in lieu of pics I've supplied some art to break up the text (much of it by David Hudnut).

Arbites defend the palace from all manner of threats, so long as they're no tougher than a puny cultist rabble.

The game is very fun, very tense and long term plans pay off - however long term plans also get scuppered when your foe moves you initiative marker forward four spaces in one combat (grrrr).
This game went as a loss for the Imperials due to Spaceport Victory by the Traitors with a well executed drop pod on the eastern fields. This is partly my fault as I hesitated too long to dislodge the Traitors (including Angron and Mortarion) in the western spaceports. I had done this in the first game and didn't want to be too predictable, but took too long and allowed the Traitors to build up.

Why aren't we in the game? Just pretend you're Custodes, ok.

After the loss we kept playing as had I held just one spaceport I was about to launch two boarding actions against Horus - we played it out and I stomped Horus dead in one turn without loosing anyone (ok, a Custodes and Blood Angel unit, but nobody important).

Like me!

The tricky part of a manoeuvre like that is it takes some space on the initiative track to get some breathing room, but Vash wouldn't give me any as he knew I'd make him pay for it (quite rightly). What I should have done is before my planned attack is to assault Angron's troops, who had been bloodily rebuffed by the White Scars dug in to their west, and force the issue down at the south western landing field.
In all honest I prettymuch wavered in the face of which western field to take on - partly because I forgot I could draw cards from my recyle pile not just the new stack! I foolishly forgot that I could play an Assault order, then pull it back as it isn't discarded and I don't need to wait for the orders phase to retrieve it.

Why hello, we're gigantic jerks!

I only narrowly lost the North Eastern field, as I had a largish contingent of army and armoured troops there, but unfortunately they were assaulted by the Emperor's Children + Fulgrim, and Vash got a lucky combat card that tunred one of my guys over to him.
But that is the nature of the game, and it was very well played by my opponent, so don't take all my maybes as a discredit to his skill.

For Ultramar and Rowboat Girlyma- wait, we're not here yet...

The only criticisms I have (perhaps a bit of 'you failed me' here) is that I think the Spaceport Victory is too early in the game - halfway infact. It does make it an easier tactic to attempt for either side than going for the big kill, and doesn't feel very heroic to me...
The other is that in some ways there needs to be more units on the board. By that I mean there are some great cards for the Arbites or Adeptus Mechanicus, but you only have three of each and they start isolated.
Getting the AdMech to a battle, in the first scenario at least, is pretty much impossible most of the time.

But, the other five scenarios all have more flexible setups so we'll be trying the second, 'HeresyUnheralded', next time we play.

I still rate the game very highly, I'd say 8.5 / 10.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It's a hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna have.

Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.

We all got it coming, kid.

You just shot an unarmed man.
He should have armed himself if he's gonna decorate his saloon with my friend.

I don't deserve this... to die like this. I was building a house.
Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.

I seen 'em, Ned, I seen the angel of death, he's got snake eyes.

I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you done to Ned.

Colours used are Chaos Black, Adeptus Battlegrey, Fortess Grey, Skull White

Monday, May 17, 2010

Horus Heresy by Fantasy Flight - First Impressions

As I mentioned previously I played a game of Fantasy Flight's Horus Heresy boardgame today, and I have to say I'm mighty impressed.

The gameplay reminds me of Nintendo's Advance Wars series of games in its diceless state and somewhat slow gameplay at times. Also the way every unit can be fairly evenly weighed up against another makes them similar in my mind.
Bell of Lost Souls described it as 'stately', and I think that's a fair description of the play. It really does require planning well in advance and keeping an eye on the initiative track for taking the different phases and such into account.

Fulgrim and his troops land at the uncontested Space Port Damoclese.

The system is fairly easy to learn, but not quick, as everything is so intertwined that you need to know everything and how it all interacts before starting. My mate Vash and I were both playing for the first time today (I had read the rulebook through thoroughly though) and it took quite some time to set up as I hadn't plugged anyone into bases or the like.
The rulebook is very thorough, often going over something a couple of times to explain it thoroughly. While this is very good when reading the rules it can be a bit much trying to look something up quickly.
Fortunately Board Game Geek has come to the rescue and the members there have made some nice summary sheets.

However, once we got into the swing of things we covered quite a bit of ground before we had to finish early.

Some of the downsides of the game are that the plastic forts are quite crowded at times. I've kept the cardboard punch-outs as they will no-doubt come in handy for messier combats.
Another minor problem was that I recieved an extra Arbites mini but was shorted a Custodes. Not a huge issue as I can simply paint them up as the right unit (or convert some Sisters of Silence maybe), but it provided a bit of confusion.

Kahn, Sanguinius and a bunch of Marines destroy the Nurgle forces at the Eternity Wall Spaceport, wounding Mortarion badly in the process.

The combat, as I mentioned is completely diceless and provides a bit of cat and mouse tactical tension compared to the otherwise strategic gameplay. Each card has a special effect dependant on the (ie Space Marines must be present), their status (attacking or defending) or affiliation (Nurgle, Khorne etc).
Also the number of cards used goes up as each hand is played giving the choice to either save cards to dish out more damage later or save units by discarding the cards to block incoming hits.

For example in the combat above I used a Space Marine ability to remove the Nurgle Marines, which then negated Mortarion's (quite powerful) special ability as he needed them there for it to work. Vash had the option of using two-three cards in his hand of five to negate that, but had already planned a combo attack of summoning Daemons to his cultists then using a special card with them to rout my guys.
That late in the game I wouldn't be able to counter it, and my assault would be thrown into disarray.
Fortunately for me I was hitting him hard and had a luck draw, wiping out the remainder of his forces and wounding Mortation four times in one go!

So yeah, a good sytem in place there. The only downside is the cards need a really good shuffle. I mean really good. We'd both shuffled the decks multiple times and cut them and all sorts, but it was still common for us to be drawing pairs of the same card over and over. A downside of the hard wearing construction of the cards, I suspect, but nothing critical. I think I'll be playing a controlled game of 52 pickup with the decks before the next game.

It is a very non-40k player friendly game, and no real knowledge is required, though it will help to be at least passingly familiar with the units. Someone who's played Dawn of War would do just fine. My friend Matt seemed intrigued by it, but it being only a two player game is a bit of a pain for the more social gamers among us.

Overall I'd rate the game 8/10 - the lost points are due to the tight confines of some of the regions, and the minor problems I've already mentioned.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review: Imperial Armour 8

My copy of IA:8, Raid on Kastorel-Novem arrived in the mail today, and here are my thoughts on it.

The same format is used here as in all IA books, the large hardcover with lots of colour pages and a detailed story of a campaign fought by the forces of the Imperium against (in this case) Orks.
The story itself tells of the attempt of the Impreial forces to disrupt a building Waaaagh by attacking the facilities of Boss-Mek Buzzgob, chief Mek to the soo-to-be Waaagh's Warlord. This includes the Elysians and the Raven Guard.

The story is written from multiple perspectives of a few characters, and each gets a little part of each battle jumping back and forth - it is well written and keeps the narrative flowing nicely and it reads quickly. This is a good contrast to the Vraks books - they were about sieges and this is a lightning raid, so it is good to have some punchier writing here.

Not to spoil it too much but, as in every IA book so far, it doesn't go to plan and the Imperials get their behinds handed to them for the most part. Now I know most fiction is Imperial-centric but come on Forge World guys, the whole "Imperials fight, get mired down and eventually get broken and retreat" bit is getting repetitive:

IA3: Taros - Imperials soundly defeated by the Tau - Marines repeatedly fail to do anything.
IA4: Anphellion - Imperials wiped out by 'nids, save the Marines who wander around, kill some Genestealers, get shot down, then leave.
IA5-7: Vraks - Imperial victory, but barely. Marines do rather well.
Tactica Aeronautica - Imperial Forces destroyed, Tau also destroyed, Imperial production severely disrupted - Tau minor victory.
IA8 - (This one) Imperials attack and get wiped out (they have a postscript where the survivors of this one have another go at the same Orks and get doubly wiped out of good measure).

Maybe because I'm primarily an Imperial player but I felt really dissapointed that they took a good concept - Imperium on the offence against aliens - but turned it into an Imperial defence story by having them screw it up. I'd like to read about the tactics of the elite airborne Elysians doing cool stuff like dropping from Valks and taking the fight to the enemy, not them digging in agianst the unstoppable hordes and getting shot down all the time...

But I digress - the book is not badly written by any stretch, but it feels far too samey with another "stupid Imperials underestimate their foes" story to rate the background very highly.

The army lists in this book are the updated Elysian Drop Troops list and a varient Ork Dred-mob list. The Raven Guard do not have their own list, but a new Captain as a special character.

The Elsyian list brings them into line with the current IG codex, including orders and streamlining wargear and removing doctrines. It is very similar to the IG list, but everyone can take Valkyries, Deep Strike and access to heavy weapons is more limited. Support Sentinels have been removed, effectively replaced by the new Tauros vehicles in their role. The Tauros buggy has a Heavy 2 grenade launcher of heavy flamer, and the bigger Venator has multi-lasers or lascannons.
The new Valkyrie Sky Talon can transport the bigger vehicle, and looks pretty nifty - I imagine it wil lget some more cargo options down the line.

The Elysian list is ok, nothing too radical aside from the new vehicles so pretty much what I expected. The only downside is a mis-print (which has been confirmed as such by FW) where the Hardened Veterans have a BS of 3 instead of 4. That's pretty bad, even by FW's standards (which otherwise seem better than normal).

The Ork list is the real gem of this book - a Mek's own private army. The HQ's are a Boss-Mek, a Pain-Boss, and a Super Mek-Dred. All are very flavourful and fun looking. The rules for the Mek's Kustom Force Field are also written very clearly to establish that the save does not work in Assault, so points there Forge World.

Options for this list are all themed along Meks - Boyz get Meks instead of Nobz, Deff Dreads are troops (and come in mobz of 1-3), you can get Burnaz, Lootaz, Kanz, Defffcoptaz as well as Trukks which come with armour plates as standard, but loose being fast.
New units include the 'Chinork', a big transport 'copter (effectively a fast, AV10 skimmer), Grot Tanks (random movement, but can always shoot their weapons), and a host of big vehicles.

With then new plastic kits and AoBR making it possible to field an almost all plastic army (save some resin and teh mek [though you could kitbash those]) I see this list being used a fair bit of all the FW lists.

A bonus included in the Ork section are the Build-a-Stompa rules from White Dwarf, as well as rules for the trio of Super Heavy tanks recently released and some Battlewagon variants using the FW pieces. Also useful is a compiled page for all the different Orkish weapons by category such as Kannons, Rokkits and Bombs and Zzappas and Lasers. A couple get little comments, such as a dissmissive "Pah!" after Grot Gunz, adding to the flavour.

So the Elysian list is good, but not anything more than expected, and the Ork list is worth the price of the book if you're a fan of da Boyz.

The missions in the back of the book are all rather inventive - they have restricted Force Org charts and often will have different requirements as minimums than the standard 1 HQ, 2 Troops. They also have a number of special characters hidden away there - a Command Tauros buggy (with bonus rules for Apoc), a pair of Elysian Captains and a Pair of Ork Warbosses (one Goff, one Death Skulls).
Well worth looking over, but to play they need to be planned for as the different charts really prohibit pick up play.

The book also comes with a poster with a portrait of Buzzgob by Paul Bonner (who's Ork art from Rogue Trader I love) and a 'know your enemy' style picture of Goff troops and vehicles, as seen above. It comes folded, which is fine for the Goff side but if you want to display the Mek side without creases you should get a second one as they come rolled (at least they used to, doesn't say either way on the site).
The artwork throughout is the usual Forge World minis looking like photos than photos of minis style, and they did a great job with the Orks and the ruins. The orkish illustrations are really fun and characterful - you get the feeling this should be called "Armour of Gork (or possibly Mork) 1: Defence of Mekslag-ikks" the way the book is skewed.
Not that that's a bad thing though!

The foreword mentions that they decided to split the Orks into two books clan wise, this one is Deth Skulls, Goffs and Evil Sunz (who get a biker boss character to go with the FW mini), and a forthcoming one will be Bad Moonz, Blood Axes and Snakebites.

In summary the book is good, but only if you either play Elysians/Harakoni (or really want the rules for the new vehicles) or to an Ork fan. If you like Orks this book has lots and lots of gubbins for you. If you're just looking for some background with no pressing interest in the two forces I'd probably give it a miss honestly.

Story: 6/10 - Give the Imperium a break already Warren!

Imperial List: 7 / 10 - Looks good and thematic, but is retreading old ground both from IA3/4 and the Codex (which you need as well to use it).

Ork List: 9 / 10 - All the units really feel different, from Meks replacing Nobz to the little chunks of background on each.

Missions: 7 / 10 - More missions is never a bad thing.

Overall (not an average, even if it coincidentaly is): 7 / 10

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Horus Heresy Boardgame Minis

Titan of the Legio Ignatium (Fire Wasps ). The shin badge is 2mm tall x 2.5mm across. Only two more to do.

He's Adeptus Battlegrey for the body, Red Gore for the armour (with Golden Yellow trim on teh hips), Bubonic Brown and Orkhide Shade for the carapace, and Boltgun Metal for the weapons.
The eyes were detailed with Regal Blue, then the whole model washed with Badab Black.

The logo is Skull White, Ultramarines Blue, Chaos Black and Golden Yellow.

Tiny Baneblade! These and the Army dudes (below) will be getting a variety of colour schemes on them since there's so many of them.

Gretchin Green, Orkhide Shade, Boltgun Metal and Chaos Black washed black.

Mechanicus and Army stands.

Mechanicus are Red Gore and Boltgun metal washed Badab Black.
Army are Gretchin Green, Adeptus Battlegrey and Chaos Black. Washed Badab Black.

The Custodes are Burnished Gold with Blood red robes, plumes and left shoulder eagles. Their spears have Boltgun Metal hafts, Adeptus Battlegrey guns, Mithril Silver blades.
The Arbites are Adeptus Battlegrey Armour, Ultramarines Blue robes, Badab Black guns, and Boltgun Metal for the shield icon and headcrest. The Judge's maul is in Mithril Silver.
Both units washed Badab Black.

Bases for everyone are Fortress Grey washed in black to match the unit stands (visible in the first picture).

One important thing to consider is to make each unit very distinct in its colouration - they're only 10mm tall and fairly similar at a distance, so it is important, as these are primarily gaming pieces so need to be easily recognisable, to make them distinct from one another.

For instance when I paint the Khorne affiliated cultists they can't just be red dudes in robes as they will be far to similar to the Mechanicus units. My thought is to make them a more reddish-brown colour accented with a bright red to stand out.
Similarly some Marines have to be in their iconic colours but easily seperated from one another - Blood Angels will have black trim, while the World Eaters will have brass.

The new member of the Fire Wasps with one of my rather ancient Adeptus Titanicus titans. The camouflaged carapace scheme is from the original box art of said game. I changed the blue body to 'black' (the Deaths Heads will be true black cuz they're evil) as I'm not a fan of the blue-red combo.