Saturday, 15 August 2020

9th ed Battle Report #1


Rift Wardens vs Grey Knights.

Points: 2000.

Scenario: Retrieval Mission.

Finally the 9th ed rules had come out and I had my copy of the Indomitus box in hand. Once the models were all built I challenged my friend Gary to a 2000 point game. Try out a higher points limit and see how well it played. The mission rolled was Retrieval Mission so I set awkward objective placements and then built the terrain layout around them to ensure that we had decent initial cover from one another. I picked the table edge that was to be mine but as was pointed out afterwards it may have served me better to claim the opposite side. I was thinking of ease of moving the models around but Gary was probably right.

Gary chose Psychic Ritual, Assassinate and Thin Their Ranks but I went with Slay the Warlord, Thin Their Ranks and Raise the Banners High. I did take a look at the scenario specific objective - Minimise Loses - but it didn't look like something that was going to be in my favour. A problem I see in most scenario specific objectives. 

First turn I focused on shooting as much as I could. I took down one squad and I think inflicted a handful of injuries elsewhere. I specifically moved my units to claim three objectives and to start raising those banners. The problem I had against Gary's Grey Knights was that he had brought a storm talon and a land raider - two units I would be hard pressed to deal with. I presently have no transports for my army so the marines had to advance forward on foot which meant Gary was able to start inflicting a lot casualties. 

As the game progressed the Grey Knights took control of their own three objectives and his shooting was a lot more effective than was mine. Although I expected to suffer at the hands of smite spam Gary didn't do much with it and it was in assault that he turned the tables. I don't know if it was a mixture of bad dice rolls or just bad luck, but I was barely able to do anything in assault and he was smashing my poor assault intercessors and my chapter master into fine red mist. Even my poor chapter master with his invulnerable save and 6+ ignore wounds died all to easily. 

The Grey Knights were soon pushing me back and once his grand master in dreadknight armour teleporting onto the table I knew I was in real trouble. My primaris lieutenant charged into him with the idea of using hi storm shield to keep his warlord in check and maybe if the dice were with me I might be able to take him down but I couldn't even make a 3+ invulnerable save more than once. 

Turn 5 came and my poor space marines were tabled and the Grey Knights had completed their Psychic Ritual. When we counted up the victory points Gary beat me 75 to 53. For a first game of this edition I thought I didn't do too badly as each new rules set is a learning experience. Gary won fair and sqaure but I can't help but feel that my dice let me down a lot of the game. He was always going to win I think but the scores might have been a bit closer. I really need to get myself a couple of Impulsor's so I can get my troops about the table more safely.

The Rift Wardens move to grab the objectives.

Kaldor Draigo emerges from the Warp to guide his brothers in battle.

The battlefield before us.

Friday, 14 August 2020


 Apologies for lack of updates. I lost my internet connection for a couple of weeks due to the uselessness of my provider. But I'm back now and in the next couple days I hope to post up my thoughts on 9th edition and a new 9th ed battle report. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Objective Markers part 1

While have a bit of a post lockdown clear out recently I found a sealed box of booby traps from the release of 4th edition's Cities of Death supplement. With 9th edition not needing numerical objectives I figure they would do well. Just needed something to mount them on and I found that at work. Where I work we sell child proof plastic caps for electrical sockets. Tonight I glued on the appropriate "booby traps". Now I just need to paint them.

Got my Indomitus box this week as well so it looks like I may have a bit of hobby painting and building to do over the next couple weeks.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

First Thoughts part 1

The other night myself and my friend Gary played a pre-9th edition game using the free download rules. My space marines vs his chaos daemons and instead of the basic Only War scenario that comes with that download we decided to tryout the Four Pillars scenario that appeared in one of the recent Warhammer Community pages. Without having access to the new points we stuck to the current 8th edition points and unit rules. We also don't have the new secondary objectives so we could only use the one from the mission itself.

At the end of that game I thought about the changes and here are a few of my initial thoughts. I'll do a part two once I get my hands on the actual rules and have played a couple more games fully under the new edition.

1. Table Size.
I prefer the idea of playing the traditional 6x4 foot table but for this game we played the reduce 44x60 and it shows during play. The reduced table width meant that we were fairly packed closer together during the game but it in a good way it also meant that my opponent's ability to deep strike was less likely to be dropped into my lines or behind them unless I moved forwards. It forced Gary to drop his bloodletters later in the game and on the edge of his own deployment zone. It doesn't seem like a huge difference but it could make a difference on the game play.

2. Command Points.
This was huge! Having a large pool of command points plus regenerating 1 a turn meant that we could both use stratagems that might never have seen the light of day under 8th edition. I could still use the re-roll, the regular stratagems but I was also able to drop an orbital bombardment and on two occasions the stratagem (I forget the name) that lets me rapid fire 2 the bolt rifles of my troops. This was a big improvement.

3. No Overwatch.
This was my only negative that came from the game and even then it didn't play a big part. Under 9th edition you can only fire one Overwatch (unless you play Tau of course). On a tactical level it means you have to choose where you want to use it, just like if you can deny a psychic power and you have to choose which power to risk the deny on. However, I think that against a aggressive hoard type army... daemons, tyranids and orks mainly, that only getting to overwatch once is not enough. If they really want to reduce overwatch then it should be a +1 cost to the stratagem for each time it has been previously used that round.

4. Actions.
Within the mission we only had the secondary that comes with the mission itself. To start with we got actions wrong. We had not properly read it and assumed that when using an action it meant that you couldn't do a psychic power, shoot or charge, and if you were charged then the action was wasted. If other secondary objectives are going to be like that, then I think they are going to be largely awkward to achieve once the game really gets underway. I can't say much more until we get our hands on the full rules and we can read them fully.

5. Morale.
The morale phase has changed and I don't understand why. The 8th edition way worked so much better and made more sense. Now, you roll as you did but if the morale test is failed one model dies or runs away. You then have to roll for each remaining model and on a 1 one more model dies or runs away. While it might reduce unit casualties from morale but it also adds a small amount of time to the game that really wants to be a bit more fast paced.

Otherwise the game played the same as 8th always has. These five points just stood out to me a lot more, both good and bad. Other than some initial kneejerk reactions, I think this will be a good edition. We just need to see how it actually plays out once we get the rules in our hands. Once I get mine next weekend I'll do a part 2.

Have you had an opportunity to try the new rules yet? What did you think?

Thursday, 2 July 2020

9th edition rules available

Today Games Workshop have released the free rules download for the new 9th edition of the game. You can find them here: 9th edition rules.

Winter's SEO has released a rules review video as well. It's a goof view if like me you were getting a bit wound up by the dribs and drabs of rules we were getting.

What are your thoughts on this rules now we have a better idea of them?

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Battle Report - Salamanders vs Rift Wardens

Salamanders vs Rift Wardens.
1500 points.
Dawn of War.
The Scouring.

First 40K game post-lockdown and most likely my last 40K game of 8th edition. My friend Gary messaged me to ask if I fancied a social-distancing game in his purpose built gaming shed. Of course I was going to say yes! And so on a cold, windy and rainy evening in June, we convened to get our gaming fix sated. I still only have my fixed space marine list and Gary put together a collection of less played models from his collections to simulate a Salamanders army.

Gary has a nice selection of solid LOS blocking terrain and we set those up to provide both a nice table layout as well as some places to hide. Deployment and mission were then determined, with the six objectives being fairly evenly spaced out across the board. I ended up with both the superior and inferior objectives pretty much in my deployment zone or close to. I completed my deployment first and I decided that since it was an objective holding mission that it made more sense to go second, so that if needs be I could try and steal them away on a potential last turn of the game.

For a seemingly random collection of units, Gary's army started dealing a fair bit of damage straight away. He had two artillery pieces, Quad-launchers I think, that started killing my models in the first volley while his other units slowly moved up to grab some objectives. It meant that I was forced to play fairly static to start with, try to keep the objectives I had and get some massed firepower into his lines. His first casualties were his scouts who were proving annoying to me and to my poor aggressors. I had placed a dreadnought with lascannons and missile launcher on my right flank in hopes that I could remove those annoying quad-launchers and although it took me a couple turns, the dreadnought did his job. 

With those artillery pieces gone I was not losing so many models and I was able to try and consolidate my positions a bit more. The ensuing fire fight was wearing us both down and when we were close enoughto assault one another things got interesting. My chapter master tore through his cataphractii terminators and a few marines before being brought down. He will be remembered with honour in the annals of the chapter. This is where the game started to go all too well in Gary's favour as my army isn't really built to handle too many assault right now. My central objective was fairly open and that is where the bulk of the fighting took place with us both sending fire and blade in to try and get that objective.

When Gary sent his bikes up I was forced to put a lot of firepower into them. I think my hellblasters did the most and left only a couple bikes. I brought my inceptors and had to ponder whether to finish a small group of scouts or the bikes. Gary offered his advice and I agreed. The scouts went down and he was left with a single bike. I assaulted the bike and failed to finish it. The bike pulled back and his marines gunned down my inceptors. If that had gone my way I think it might have turned the tables in my favour but with them gone, I was looking at a total loss here.

By turn 5 I had lost nearly my entire army and was holding just the superior objective as I recall. I conceded at this point. Victory for the Salamanders.

It was a good game after nearly three months of not playing. I didn't forget much but there were a few things I had to check the rules and codex for. Fun game with some nice cinematic moments and definitely worth the wait. 

My chapter master leads his marines into battle at the start of the battle.

Vulkan, centurians and the quad launchers.

The battlefield at start of play.

My chapter master laying the smack down on those Salamander terminators.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Happy Days!

With Lockdown coming to an end here in the UK, it looks like I might get my first Warhammer game since it all started. Can't wait. Hopefully it'll all come back to me and it'll be a good match.

Keep an eye out as I'll write up the battle report soon.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

9th ed Terrain

We're being hit hard and fast with new 9th edition teasers, and today we have received a look at the new terrain rules. You can see the full article here.

Well... knee jerk reactions aside... I do and I do not like them. 8th edition had the problem that terrain was pretty much pointless in the game when it needed a more dedicated set of rules for their use. That seems to be what we are getting here so why do I have a sense of being not happy with what Games Workshop have showcased here? I think because in one example of rules changes, which I will come to below, they seem to have listened to the nonsense that comes out of the ITC format.

Let's take a look.

Terrain Traits
When setting up a battlefield, you and your opponent(s) decide which terrain traits will be applied to each piece of scenery. The traits are designed to be stackable, so a single terrain piece can actually be given as many different traits as you wish. For example, you may decide to count a bunker as both Light Cover AND Heavy Cover, offering the benefits of cover at every range.

I'm sorry... what? We have to agree on what each piece of terrain counts as? That will end well outside of tournaments. TO's will set that up themselves but in friendly games there are already rules arguments and this will probably generate more. Why not just assign specific rules to specific terrain types? That would solve this issue. I'm on the fence with this one.

This is nice and I like that the two types can be stacked. Ruins should always be both though rather than something you should be picking. About time that melee allows cover saves in ruins though. Why did it take nine editions to add that?

This is where I start to have issues and call BS! This is what they have copied from the ITC tournaments where complaints were made about being to shoot through ruins with windows or doors, so they made it so that doors and windows are effectively walls. I hate this concept. If you don't want players to shoot through such gaps, don't build them into your terrain pieces. Simples! I really hope this is one of those optional traits so that you don't have to have to use it.

Secondly, what happened to Aircraft that they need that second bit? Last I knew aircraft were not hiding behind walls on a regular basis and were not overpowered (well, maybe one or two Aeldari ones... *Ahem*). Models that are Titanic I get. Those things are towering over the terrain anyway realistically. I just don't see why aircraft are being singled out. But hey, I guess it won't be too much of an issue.

Oh look... ruins should be obscuring.

Yes, I am having a knee jerk reaction but I've walked away from the computer, painted some models and watched some Youtube to chill before I made this post. I've thought about it and chilled but some of this just is not sitting well with me. It seems like they have gone from minimal rules under 8th edition to the opposite extreme under 9th.

We shall see. While I'm not keen on the idea of 9th yet, and they are messing with my game, you do have to accept that editions change.

What do you think about what has been showcased today?

Monday, 8 June 2020

40K through my years

First edition, aka Rogue Trader, was where I started with the game. One cold and windy October Saturday my best friend at school and I went down to London, to Games Day 1987 for this release. That was my first and arguably best gaming convention I had ever been to. Nothing I have been to since ever came close to how awesome that day was. I still have the little pamphlet flyer thing they gave me at the door as we went in. On that day I bought my copy of Rogue Trader, the old plastic space marine box set and the metal space orks box set.

Sadly, my friend Chris and I only ever played a handful of games. About five or six I would say. I have always loved space marines ever since that time and is why I go back to them time and time again, even when they fail me so much. I ended up ditching them though when the Realms of Chaos books came out and I bought a sizeable Black Legion army. Once we left school though, Chris went off to university and with no one else to play against, I ditched them and continued with my main love of table top role-playing games.

There was always something cool about the universe of the game back then. It didn't take itself seriously and there was so much room for individual interpretation of both the universe and one's own army. Back then the game wasn't so up it's own backside as it is now. Random mission scenario generators could have your ork mercenaries paid by an Imperial governor to rescue his daughter  who had been kidnapped by squats. Or space marines could be sent in to break up a mining dispute. While silly really, the universe was more fluid and less set in stone like it is today.

The rules were... well, let's be honest in light of modern game design, were awful. I wouldn't even want to try and play that system again. Too complex and awkward. Warhammer Fantasy Battles 3rd edition, which used basically the same system, suffered by this as well. I don't know what it is about war gamers that they want massively over complicated rules systems.

I no longer have my original copy as that fell apart in about 1989 due to the amount of reading and rereading I gave the poor thing. I do still have a well worn second hand copy though which I keep for the nostalgia of those days.

Thankfully I avoided the horror that was 2nd edition. It was many many years before I saw a copy of these rules and from my personal opinion this was just terrible. An overly complicated system yet again and a universe setting that had all the life in it just bleached. Bland and dull. I know there are many players out there who fondly remember this edition and it's probably for the same reason that I fondly remember Rogue Trader but for me, 2nd edition was a big no no.

And what was with all the bright colours? The grimdark had turned the lights on. I was told a story by a Games Workshop manager back in the mid 90's of which I do not know the full truth about. He told me that it was due to someone on the old 'Evey Metal team leaving the company but it was in their contract that all models painted by them belonged to them, so when they left, they took so many models with them that Games Workshop had to rush out new fully painted armies for the photos. As I say, I take that with a grain of salt but it makes me wonder just how much truth there is in that.

I came back near the end of the 90's when a friend at the time wanted to get back into the game. We went over to our nearest Games Workshop store and pooled our dosh for a single shared copy of the rules. He went with Chaos Space marines, Black Legion specifically and I decided to try out a new army that didn't exist in my day, the Tau. After reading their codex, and deciding that this was not to my liking, I went back to my trusty space marines. I created a homebrew chapter called the Sons of Osirion which were painted this lovely colour that Games Workshop used to do called Fire Dragon Crimson. We built and painted a few models before he lost interest and we dropped it. Somewhere I think I still have that copy of third edition.

Rules wise, it was the first edition I think where the game was more like how we have the game these days. A far cry from those Rogue Trader days. Rules were simpler and easier to understand. A lot of the unnecessary elements had gone. Although I never actually got to play it, I think I would have enjoyed this rule set quite a bit.

By the time of third edition the universe of the game was much more set in stone than it was under my day. You could still see some of that whimsy in the lore and even the models, but you could see them cementing more and more together.

The fourth edition of the game was really where I came back into it. By this time we had our own local gaming store where we went to for board games, card games and role-playing stuff, and the owner was interested in stocking Games Workshop. A few members of our gaming fraternity said that yes they were interested. As I had been running tournaments and such for a few other games, I said that if there was enough interest then I would put a club together and that is how our current club came to be - all because of Warhammer 40K 4th edition. I decided on space marines once again and bounced between Silver Skulls and Ultramarines during this edition.

Unlike third edition, fourth had become a little more rules heavy but nothing too unwieldy. The only real issues I had with fourth edition was just how overpowered it made certain assault based armies. Khorne Berzerkers got three or four times as many attacks in melee than the equivalent shooting army could put out. Genestealers could outflank coming in from the sides of the board, assaulting your units and cutting them down before they could ever do anything about it. It really used to get on my nerves, and I'm being polite in the way I am saying that. The rules were fun to play but certain aspects were OTT.

By this time the universe was pretty much what we know now. Gone was the openness and in it's place was a huge stone with everyone chiselled on it. It took some of the enjoyment away but I think that was the nostalgia talking.

Fifth edition was an edition that I loved. A lot of mechanical issues seemed to be fixed and in general the game flowed better. It carried a much more narrative feel although I probably can't tell you why I feel that. Games just worked better under fifth edition. It still experienced certain issues like the psychic phase being overpowered, especially by the Eldar and to a lesser extent Chaos Space Marines. 

At this time I came up with a new space marine chapter, again, called the Knights of the Void. Ice Blue in colour and with the concept of them being knights in space. Had fun with those but by the end of the edition I had lost interest and swapped chapters.

When sixth edition was launched I got a half six in the morning bus over to our nearest Games Workshop for the release day and I was rather disappointed. I was there during the last days of Rogue Trader for the Games Workshop stores' grand opening and I had to get there for the same time to be ready as I helped out in store from time to time. The crowds were huge even at seven in the morning. I expected the same for the sixth edition release but there was no one. Disappointing. No one else turned up for like two hours! Oh well. At got my copy though.

Sixth edition was good but it started to ramp the power level. Units started to become slightly too overpowered. The psychic phase was again too strong for certain armies and underpowered for others. One thing I really did enjoy about this edition was the addition of what we would consider now to be war zones. Sixth edition introduced basic rules for different planetary types and the club used these in a lot of their games.

During this edition I read the Salamander trilogy of books by changed my chapter yet again to Salamanders. I enjoyed playing them but I started into a spiral of not winning matches and losing interest in the game.

Seventh edition. I had an issue when this edition dropped. I have the opinion that an edition needs several years to mature before it should get replaced. Sixth was only out for two years before it was replaced. This put me in a bad place for some reason and I stopped playing for nearly six months. I still run the club for the guys though. It took my friend Jon to bring me back into the fold. He showed me the new tactical objectives deck and we played a game of seventh using them. That one new mechanic reversed my opinion and I jumped back into the game.

I had sold my Salamanders by this point and so I decided to start something new. Watching my friend Joel with his chaos daemons I decided that I wanted to play an army that could summon. I started a Death Guard army with some summoned plague bearers as support. Through this edition I had a really good time with that army and especially when they released the Traitor Legions sourcebook which made them so much better.

Then along came eighth edition and this has been without doubt my favourite edition thus far. At first I was a little sceptical after all the changes to this edition were major. It became a whole new game in my eyes. You had to forget everything you knew about the previous incarnations and start a fresh. Some of our gaming club didn't like it. They felt that the game had lost it's way. No strategy and no tactics but they were so wrong. Things just changed and we have to change with them.

I don't know what happened about my Death Guard under this edition. They went from being a really good army under seventh edition to losing something once they received the new books. Gone were bikes, raptors and heldrakes and in their place they got some cool new toys but nothing that compensated for the lose of those units. In the end I lost interest and sold them, and bought a Genestealer Cult army. I wanted something different and unfortunately they just didn't play the way I wanted them to. I returned to my old reliable, the space marines. Since the release of eighth edition I had been curious about an all Primaris army so I decided that they would be my next choice. The Rift Wardens were born... a crusading Imperial Fists successor.

I haven't done amazing with my Rift Wardens chapter but I have enjoyed every game I've played. Eighth edition certainly does seem to play better when you let go of the mechanical aspect and just focus on the fun.

I'm not sure what to make of what we have seen of 9th edition yet. It seems as though for the most part the game system will remain the same but with some small changes here and there. We shall see when the game comes out.

9th ed Battle Report #1

  Rift Wardens vs Grey Knights. Points: 2000. Scenario: Retrieval Mission. Finally the 9th ed rules had come out and I had my copy of the In...