Monday, 20 October 2014

Painful Mistakes and the Absent Blogger.

Seeing Mick getting back on the scene (and pumping out the Blog content) got my typing fingers twitching but I’m just not inspired to write anything about 40K right now, fear not I’ll be attending two large tournaments in the next 3 months so I’ll have something to write about in the near future. This being said I hope you’ll forgive me a digression.

I was a World of Warcraft player for many years. I rolled a Tauren Shaman a few short weeks after release and then signed up with a guild called The Suffering almost as soon as I spawned in Mulgore. I pretty much embedded myself there for the best part of 5 years as I worked my way up to being on the Guild Council as a Raid Leader. With the relentless quest for loot, raiding: from the first tentative steps into 40-man raiding in Molten Core to confidently having Illidan “on farm” and even the occasional Guild meet up (in the real world), this was the most fun I’d ever had simply playing a computer game.

Inevitably however real life began to invade my wonderful little fantasy world and I managed to extract myself from the game some time in 2010. I still pop back in on occasion to dust off my Shaman and a few of my other alts but without the Raiding side of the game, it just doesn’t hold my attention like it used to.

There’s still a lot that I love about World of Warcraft (WoW), the lore, the design, the mechanics and the multiplayer nature of it, and therein lies the crux of it. I’ve always been a fan of playing games with other people, it’s one of the key reasons why I like 40K, whether competitive or co-operative (or both), that’s what really scratches my gaming itch. As is so often the way though, as I get older, the time I can dedicate to these gaming pursuits becomes less and less, so with WoW taking up 4 hours per night 3 times a week I just wasn’t going to be able to keep it up, particularly with a young family. Even 40K with its, perhaps, 3 hours per night 1 night per week demands, can be a bit tricky for me.

Enter Hearthstone.

I heard about this game via some friends who I still keep in touch with from my Guild so I thought I’d check it out. I’d never played a card game, like Magic or Pokemon, before but the theme was something I was all too familiar with so it felt very comfortable and non-threatening. The Hearthstone Heroes all reflected the aspects of their WoW Avatars, so I had somewhat of a head-start on understanding the abilities. The design is fantastic, both graphic and game design, it looks beautiful and plays simply but with a huge amount of depth. The final taste was the fact that it is (at the time almost exclusively) a player vs player gaming model. I was hooked!

As I dug a bit deeper into the game I started to relate deck building in Hearthstone to list building in 40K. As you may already know from the blog, list construction is one of my favourite aspects of 40K, theory-hammering out a list for a tournament and then playing it out to see if your expectations were met is something that really hooks me into the game.

Also the simplicity of the game makes it easier to play the odds in line with an overall strategy, something which is key to the success of many top 40K players. For example, if you know you want to control the board in Hearthstone and you know what cards you have in your deck, you can make intelligent choices with the cards you have in your hand to either flood the board with your cards, to trade advantageously or to simply bide you time knowing that you can clear you opponent’s board in a few short turns.

The game (or more accurately – your opponent) will also punish even small mistakes. One particularly fresh example of this happened to me only this past weekend. I was playing some Arena and I’d drafted a particularly mediocre Shaman deck. Arena is a game mode where you build a deck of cards from scratch by choosing the best card 30 cards from a pool of 90 shown to you 3 at a time of which you may only pick 1. Anyway, I was on 3 wins and was up against a Warrior who came out of the gates flying with a very aggressive deck and who was clearly not interested in trading with me. Every card he had just went straight for my face and before I knew it I was on 1 health and facing an opponent with 30 health and 2 additional armour. Queue the Rocky theme tune …

His aggression and my card trading had actually left me with a relatively strong presence on the board and I had a hand which I could use to protect my single point of health. Also to my advantage was the fact that it seemed that his deck had run out of steam. Over the next few turns I got just the card draws I needed and I took him down to 14 health, during the same period he’d been frantically working to get back some semblance of board presence and I was acutely aware of the fact that my single point of health wasn’t going to last much longer. Then all my defence was gone and I was staring down a board which I could not weaken enough to survive the following turn. However, I knew I had a card in the nine that were left in my deck which would give me the turn I needed to finish him off and I had a way to draw an additional card so I took the 1 in 9 chance …

Needless to say I was unsuccessful, but almost as soon as I spent the action to draw the card I realised that if I’d used that action to hit my opponent I would have had a lethal amount of damage which I could have dealt to him that turn and won! Oh the pain of blundering away a 32 point come-back (the heroes start with 30 points of health) simply because I was so focussed on board control at that point and I simply missed the fact that I had lethal if I’d only noticed it staring me in the face. It felt a lot like stretching a unit out to just barely get a single model into scoring range only to have you opponent charge them from the other side and pull them off just as the game ends.

Anyway, the lesson I learnt was to always calculate the damage available to me and compare it to my opponent’s health before making any actions. Even if you’re playing board control, you still want to win the game right?! I guess the broader lesson here is to not focus so much on a particular strategy that you forget about the overarching goal.

Lastly there's a final lesson here, and that it to never give up. Staring down a 30-1 deficit is pretty intimidating and I could well have thrown in the towel but there was a glimmer of hope in the cards I had in my hand so I played them to the best of my ability, and but for a stupid mistake, I could have won that game. To link this back to 40K, keep your focus in the mission, your opponent may be handing you your ass but there's more to winning the game than tabling someone. If you have the troops left you can still win it so keep your head in the game and stay focussed on you goals.

I hope that was at least somewhat interesting  and if Claws and Fists deems it worthy, perhaps I’ll post a few more Hearthstone stories in the future. Otherwise stay tuned for more 40K content in the coming weeks.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Finding the character of an army

I know I started an army list review compared to what I was taking to tournaments back in fifth but because its Saturday the missus is out with the girls playing bus stop bingo all day (a game that involves carnage) and Liverpool play tomorrow I've got the day free to paint.

I've spent a lot of the week thinking about what I want this Wolf army to be. My last army was a typical baby blue based on snow with some nice shiny gold, they certainly looked like they'd just come off the parade ground but only a parade ground where the Amourer was missing a few fingers and possibly two eyes.

Just before I stopped playing I had painted a few pre heresy models which included a Contemptor with the new airbrush I had had. I based coated them with the normal chaos black spray and then used Vallejo model air German grey to give them an undercoat with a highlight of Vallejo model air light grey. I was really pleased with the results so I'm going to use that basic recipe but take it a step further.

This week I have been really impressed with a couple of videos I've watched the first I had seen before (link here) showed a style of painting Thirteenth company Space Wolves obviously the more pre heresy feel that I want. I really like the way Lester paints I'm taking a lot from this.

The other video I watched and this is the link the to the first part was about weathering a tank by OrcPainterNerd. I really enjoyed watching this video from start to finish. I want these wolves to look embattled, they've been stuck on a planet surrounded for months and had their resources slowly eroded and this shows in their armour. Of course they are Imperial so their armour is in a better state than the Death Guard but its still looking shabby.

I've decided to use some of the techniques from the video mixed with a scheme close to the one in the thirteenth company video so where does that leave me.

My 10 blood claws are all built and pinned to for ease of painting.

I have started off with a coat of Vallejo Satin Varnish because the weathering video suggested that it allowed paint to adhere better. Next step was a coat of chaos black, I would have preferred to undercoat skull white but I don't think it would have had the required effect.

The next stage is to spray around the models especially areas that would get scratched more with a mixture of Vallejo model air gun and aluminium, as in the weathering video this is going to be quite haphazard but as said I'll be concentrating with feet, hands and lightly everywhere else.

After that I'm going to go to work with the Weathering fluid I have bought, a light coat should give the required results.

I think that's as far as I will get today so look out next time for some pictures (I can't promise high quality)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A different view of the new Space Wolf Codex

A couple of days have past now since I got the new codex so I thought I would share my thoughts on what I have read. I'm not going to do a full review of the codex, there are plenty out there like that I thought instead I would remind you what the list I was most commonly playing was at the end of fifth and compare the two.

This is the list I took to my last major tournament which was 2012's Caledonian open (was it really that long ago?)

HQ1: Rune priest: living lightning, Murderous Hurricane, chooser of the slain, wolf tail talisman [115]
HQ1: Rune priest: living lightning, jaws of the world wolf, chooser of the slain [110]

Elite 1: Wolf Guard Pack: 3 Wolf Guard, 3 Power Fists, 3 Combi Meltas [129]+ TRANSPORT1
Elite 2: Dreadnought, 2 Twin linked Autocannons [125]

TROOP 1: Grey Hunters Pack: 7 grey hunters: meltagun, mark of the wulfen, wolf standard [135] + TRANSPORT 2
TROOP 2: Grey Hunters Pack: 7 grey hunters: meltagun, mark of the wulfen, wolf standard [135] + TRANSPORT 3
TROOP 3: Grey Hunters Pack: 7 grey hunters: meltagun, mark of the wulfen, wolf standard [135] + TRANSPORT 4
TROOP 4: Grey Hunters Pack: 6 grey hunters: flamer, mark of the wulfen [105] + TRANSPORT 5

FAST 1: Landspeeder Sqn: 1 Landspeeder: Multimelta, heavy flamer [70]
FAST 2: Landspeeder Sqn: 1 Landspeeder: Multimelta, heavy flamer [70]

HEAVY 1: Long Fangs Pack: 5 long fangs+1 Squad Leader, 4 missile launchers, 1 lascannon [155]
HEAVY 1: Long Fangs Pack: 5 long fangs+1 Squad Leader, 4 missile launchers, 1 lascannon [155]
HEAVY 1: Long Fangs Pack: 5 long fangs+1 Squad Leader, 4 missile launchers, 1 lascannon [155]

TRANSPORT 1: Razorback: lascannon + twin linked plasmaguns [75] [Elite 1]
TRANSPORT 2: Rhino [35] [Troop 1]
TRANSPORT 3: Rhino [35] [Troop 2]
TRANSPORT 4: Rhino [35] [Troop 3]
TRANSPORT 5: Razorback: lascannon + twin linked plasmaguns [75] [Troops 4]

So obviously the place to start is the HQ's.

As I said on my (triumphant) return to blogging I only managed a couple of games of 40K in Sixth and I'm yet to experience Seventh but at the minute Rune Priests would still be my go to HQ choice. From reading the rule book Psykers seem more important than ever and can you really risk going into the game without them?
Obviously you no longer get to pick your psychic powers. Without playing it seems like all the powers I took have been seriously downgraded, on average you get the same number of shots with LL but it used to have unlimited rage. MH has got less shots but it is rending now JOTWW now only effects a single model rather than a line and monstrous creatures can't be targeted (not sure what the point of it is then) there's also no chooser's any more unfortunately for that +1 to ballistic skill. So slightly cheaper but surely you need the add ons of psychic hoods and psyker level two.

What's everyone else's opinion on the Rune priest now?

Look out for the next post covering Elites and Troops.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Back for the Wolftime - A return to regular gaming after a couple of years off.

It has been a long time since I have produced a blog post and I thought I would explain why and where I’m at with the hobby at the minute.
I stopped playing just after sixth edition came out (I think I managed a couple of games at most) there was a combination of reasons for this.

Firstly and I promise this will be the only time I mention it, I like a lot of us do not like GW as a company. I feel like they have seriously forgotten their roots as a small cottage industry for the players to a big money company. When I started playing First Company Veterans was one of the biggest clubs in the country with 70 or 80 players attending our own gaming night at Warhammer World on a Thursday night. Within a few years the numbers of people were down to a hand full of 40k and Fantasy players and a core of about 10 to 15 Bloodbowl players. That I purely lay at the door of GW and the staff at Warhammer World, they decided that they wanted to go in a different direction and it destroyed the club other than a few core players. More fool them they went for a full hall on a Thursday night with the majority of the members eating and drinking to not being open at all on a Thursday night.

One of the other reasons I stopped playing was the tournament scene that at the time I was a part of, I wasn't improving and I was becoming frustrated. On a good weekend I’d find myself in the top half on a bad weekend I’d be scrapping it out on the bottom tables. This in turn was part of the issue with First Company Veterans, a lot of the core players were really into Bloodbowl a game which I never picked up at the right time so I wasn’t playing enough different players to really make me better the other problem was how I play the game, I was never decisive enough I had many many games where if I had risked a little more I would have turned draws into wins.

The final reason I think I stopped playing was sixth edition and my own Army list. I’ve always been a Space Wolves player, during my time I have toyed with the idea of other armies. I've built a small Grey Knights force and started both Necron’s and Word Bearers but I have never come close to finishing them. When Sixth came along I couldn't find the motivation to change my list so thoroughly and now I really reflect on it it’s because I wasn't enjoying the game. I saw sixth edition as too random and because of that I thought it would mean that I wasn't as competitive a player. The problem was I’d lost why I was playing the game. When I first started building lists, I picked the units I liked to play with and that were very fluffy. I played with 14 Blood claws in a Land Raider led by Ragnar and a Wolf Priest. I then played with a massive death star of Thunderwolf cavalry. Over the time I dropped these things from my list for the same cookie cutter lists that everyone was playing, lots of Long Fangs (which were enjoyable) and lots of Grey Hunters but I wasn't actually getting the results during tournament play so what was the point.

So what has changed two years later. Well I have returned to what originally inspired me to start an Army almost 6 years ago. I have been lax with my Black Library reading. Mainly down to having a Kindle now the quality and availability of good Science fiction has improved incredibly but last week with nothing to read I picked up Horus Rising and was straight away reminded why the 40K mythology was brilliant. 'I was there when Horus slew the Emperor' is a fantastic opening to a novel and such a massive series. I felt reading that I was ready to pick up the dice and tape measure again and lead my troops into battle but something had to change with my style otherwise I would just end up to in the same position again so I thought about the people who I think have the most fun in playing which are Claws and Fists most regular (and lads I use that word very loosely) posters Andy and Graham. What is different about what they do to what I was doing is they constantly doing something different. They don't have a list they try new things, they use different units and if it works great and if it doesn't its just put down to experience.

So Saturday led me into Derby GW for the first time in a while. I managed to avoid being ganged up on with a conversation about what I'm playing at the minute and made it out with a new rule book, codex and a box of Space Wolves. Sunday has seen me mark two sets of books (just in case OFSTED are stalking me over the internet) and go through all the things I had packed away a couple of years ago. I managed to find everything except for my hobby drill which was good what did make me shudder and also sweat a bit with the wife looking over me is the number of unfinished models I have in there.

When I made my first entry on here (which at the time was the record read post, something I notice I still hold boys) I started it with a resolution that I would play a minimum of a game a week for the following year. In the whole I did that, some weeks I was playing 2 or 3 regular games and on tournament weekends I could well be playing 8-10 games over the course of seven days. That won't happen now, I have too many responsibilities, we are all that bit older wiser and more encumbered with debt. I'm also busy dispensing the Emperor's will in the form of BB's airsofting at least once a week. So my resolutions or perhaps it should be Oath of the moment because it needs that strength to make it stick
Return to gaming at least once a month and chart my progress on here

  • Not play the same army list for more than a month at a time and if it returns to my life attend every tournament with a different list.
  • Only buy more models when I have finished the last lot.
  • Get back to regular blogging.

So that is my tale readers, please check the blog regularly because I'm going to get back to posting my progress and after being out for two editions (what is happening to the speed GW are pumping things out) I will need all the advice I can get.


Related Posts with Thumbnails