One Pink Tank = Kick Ass!

The second game of Warhammer 40k went great. Our girl has wanted to play since we started playing with the older rules. She patiently waited for the new rules while painting her first tank and some Imperial Guardsmen. Our boy wanted to play a second game and I thought I would stay on the sidelines and teach. They didn’t have any of that, thus for our second game I joined our girl’s side because she had less units than our boy.

Less is a measurement made solely on the visual observation that she had 2 tanks and 15 guardsmen to his truk, dreadnaught, helicopter, and 30 orks. Less, for 40k, has a new measurement, which goes like this one pink tank = kick ass!

As I said above, our girl was learning the rules, which if you read yesterday’s post, you know I think are really easy to teach and learn. This game proved that. By the end of turn 2 she didn’t need reminders. The only help she needed from me was flipping through the index book for stats on her units and finding stats for the rocket launcher. My only nitpick to date, is that some weapons are not listed on data sheets, and are located in an appendix.

Back to the game, having learned from the last game, our boy clustered his orks together on one side of the table with the exception of his truk full of large orks. Our girl deployed her guard in a tall building with a clear line of sight. Her infantry transport parked near her main battle tank, all covering the center of the table. My five-man squad of assault marines covered the side of the table with the truk.

With little preamble, her infantry transport shot down his helicopter. His dreadnaught crushed her infantry transport, the troops inside bailed out, only to get slaughtered by a mob of orks. His truk died to my assault squad. The truk blew up, our boy rolled really well for the damage, killing all of his orks inside, except his warboss, and all of my marines.

I haven’t mentioned the tank in a main roll, because the tank didn’t kill any one thing. The tank was the frosting to her destruction cake. The tank got the killing shot on the squad of the grots, dreadnaught, and took the squad of orks down to 2 in one turn, and brought the warboss down to one health before the game ended. Our boy, once his dreadnaught and helicopter bit the dust could do little against the tank.

So what have we learned from our first two games with the new rules:

A unit can advance, which means they move farther, but cannot shot or charge. Not being able to charge does not mean that unit cannot engage in the fight phase. As long as the advancing unit is within 1″ of another unit fighting can happen.

Mortal wounds means no save. We gave everyone saves, they still died.

Morale failure can be brutal.

Re-rolls are very valuable.

Transports are good, but not great.

And finally, multiple ways to crack armor is a necessity, especially for orks. 🙂

The New Warhammer 40k

Ten minutes into our first game and I knew something different was in front of us and it was a good different. The new Warhammer 40k rules are in a single word, friendly. If the scanner had cooperated our first game would have gone smoothly and quickly. Our scanner did not, more on why that is relevant in a minute.

GONE is the bulky, overburdened, confusing, and disorganized rulebook. In is a four panel set of rules that covers almost everything necessary (the only thing NOT covered was what happened when a fully loaded transport blows up) to play a game of Warhammer 40k. Even better the rules are free to download.

You might be wondering how all of the rules of old were condensed into something four panels long…easy, all of the fiddly and nitpicky rules have either been moved to a new location or removed. It used to be that you had to read the rulebook and memorize all sorts of rules to play. Now you have to remember the following:

  • Move
  • Psychic Powers
  • Shoot
  • Charge
  • Fight
  • Morale

That’s it. That’s it as far as the phases of the games go. The rest of the information is contained on each unit’s data sheet and this, for us at least, is where the revolution in game design comes in. All of the information for a unit is contained on one data sheet. No more flipping through the rule and faction books to find a rule or weapon. Everything is right there in front of you.

The most flipping we had to do was due to the scanner not working. Had our scanner worked we would have had sheets printed out for each unit, removing the need for books at the table altogether. As it was, a quick flip to a page to get information and done.

No sheet with charts to hit and wound. No faction books nearby to consult. No notecards with unit information. No templates cluttering up the table. Dice and rulers. A clean playing area. I liked that.

What happened with our first game? A lot of interesting things. Prior to this game we had not seen a plane in play, that happened. Our boy demonstrated that he is way into the story of his orks than he is into the tactics of his orks. And a tiny force of Deathwatch triumphed only because the orks were in story mode.

His ork bomber which honestly had me scared, flew here and there, but never flew over anything important enough to drop a bomb on. That alone would have been bad enough, but our table which we previously thought was huge may be bordering on just large enough for planes, his bomber almost flew off the table more than he would have liked.

I’m all for having a story behind your army. I have a story. My story influences why I made the choices I made in units. My story does not dictate how I play. Our boy has a very elaborate story behind each of his units and those stories far too often dictate how he plays and why he continues to lose, despite having a much larger and well equipped army. Why his best troops needed to climb to the top of a building is something only he can tell you. Why his runtherd shepparded the cannon fodder to safety instead of cannon foddering them is something only he can tell you.

We had a lot more fun with the new rules. So much clutter and crap removed made a smooth and streamlined game. Already looking forward to more.

Puddles and Whiskers, WBD Post Meeting Car Ride

This is section is small, but important. Previous versions of this section had more of a “something is happening” and the “characters know things” feel than I ever wanted. This ends with Puddles and Whiskers actually having a plan, something they are smart enough to do and should have done in previous versions. Ah well…what are you gonna do, writing and all. These changes allow me to straighten out other parts of the story to make a cohesive narrative. Enjoy.

Previously.

Post Meeting Car Ride

“Um…,” Puddles said.

“Please escort us back to our car,” Whiskers said to Monotone.

One express elevator ride up two floors, ten pieces of bland corporate art, six white hallways, and not a single word back to the landing pad entrance. Monotone and Glare stopped at the door.

“Did you see Doctor Marlowe’s face when I mentioned Tumbledown?” Whiskers asked standing next to the passenger door.

“Behind the window and holo I couldn’t tell if he was smiling, scowling, or passing gas and neither could you,” Puddles replied testily, ears flattening.

“Fine. Tell me this,” Whiskers said as he opened the door, “why would anyone hire us to find people who do not exist?”

Sitting down with a thud ears still flat, Puddles answered, “No clue, but someone did hire us to clean out that gang.”

Exiting Titan Industries landing pad and merging with traffic heading into Stroud, Puddles set the car on auto-drive and sat back, fuming about the last day. Whiskers watched traffic fly around them in silence, thinking about the last.

Ten minutes of fuming and thinking passed before Puddles shattered the silence, “We need to do something.”

“Such as?”

“Find Doctor Dan and shake answers out of him!” Puddles said angrily, “That is my first inclination.”

“Mine as well. However, we do not have any real information on Doctor Dan. We need information.”

“We have information,” Puddles said relaxing, “We know the name of the gang…”

“We have vid of the clean room…”

“We have vid of Doctor Dan…”

“An inkling that Titan Industries is involved…”

“We have information to work this out,” Puddles finished with an emphatic arm pump.

“Call Chuck and have him meet us at the office tomorrow. We will start working through the case.”

“Already making the call.”

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB The Meeting…

This used to be part of one long section of flying over Stroud, meeting Doctor Marlowe, and then rushing out like something important happened. And it kinda worked, until I started Washing and Dry Brushing the chapter. Now there is a chapter of them flying over Stroud. This chapter of the Meeting. And…I’m not sure, because the more I read the post meeting the more I see how it needs to change because assumptions are made/given that are not in evidence, at least not to the degree that Puddles and Whiskers infer. Then there is the whole Chuck reference as if they have not worked with him before. Ah, the joys of writing a story the way I do I’m loving the process of writing, I hope you are enjoying the story.

Previously.

The Meeting

Puddles set the auto-drive to the landing pad coordinates and turned to Whiskers, “What are we doing?”

“I hope we get answers from Doctor Marlowe.”

Holding up her paw, Puddles ticked off her points, “His daughters, the ganger with the bubble shield technology, and that room, right?”

“That sounds right,” he replied.

Approaching the landing pad, Whiskers pointed at the two Titan security guards in white and blue body armor waiting for them.

“Guess we’re getting an escort,” Puddles said sarcastically.

As their car landed, the security guards approached and waited. Whiskers secured his katana and pocketed his tablet. Puddles stowed her frying pan and pistol under her seat. Their car landed with a thud, the auto-drive flashing green.

“All good?” Puddles asked Whiskers.

Whiskers nodded.

“Follow us,” said a guard said in a monotone as they exited their car.

Without waiting, the guards turned on their heels and marched to door clearly labeled 33rd Floor Research Lobby. Puddles and Whiskers hurried across the landing pad to catch up to them. One guard glared at them as they approached. The other in a monotone said, “This way please.”

Following Monotone and Glare through the white lobby, Puddles counted ten pieces of bland corporate art, six white hallways branching off from the lobby and one express elevator. Glare summoned the elevator while Monotone stood silently with Puddles and Whiskers. A quick ride down two floors, the elevator opened onto a featureless white hallway ending in a security door labeled, Sterile Lab 2.

Monotone said, “Doctor Marlowe is inside.” As the thick door slide aside.

They walked past Glare standing outside the door, Monotone followed them inside waiting at the back of the white room with several tables covered in equipment and interface stations along the walls. Puddles gave Whiskers her “looks familiar look.” Whiskers returned the expression.

“I don’t see anyone,” Puddles announced.

“Behind the glass,” a monotone replied pointing to the large window at the rear of the room.

Approaching the glass, they saw a room packed with equipment and tables, but nobody inside. Whiskers turned to ask monotone where Doctor Marlowe was when a holo of an elderly human male in an oversized blue and white hazmat suit appeared on behind the glass.

“Good evening,” the holo addressed them.

“What is this!” Puddles ears back, fur raised, shouted while gesturing towards the holo.

“I think you mean who is this,” Whiskers responded while squinting at the man’s face. “Remarkable quality holo,” Whiskers mumbled.

“I don’t care about the quality. Where is…Doctor…Doctor…”

“Marlowe.”

“Yeah, that guy.”

The holo of the man raised his hand, “I am Doctor Cadius Marlowe.”

Pivoting on her heels to face Whiskers and Monotone, “That’s not Doctor Marlowe!”

“But I am Doctor Marlowe,” the holo pleaded.

“Excuse us a second, Doctor Marlowe,” Whiskers said to the holo while directing Puddles over to a corner of the room.

Ears less flat, fur still raised, and tail slashing through the air, Puddles allowed herself to be directed, “What?” she hissed.

“Let me handle this,” gesturing towards the holo of Doctor Marlowe who turned away from them and appeared to be working, “I might be able to get something of use out of him.”

“Fine,” Puddles fumed, “you go talk to Doctor Pixels. I’ll wait over here.”

Clearing his throat, Whiskers waited for the holo of Doctor Marlowe to turn around. A few seconds of waiting, Doctor Marlowe faced Whiskers his hands hidden behind a desk or table, Whiskers assumed.

“Sorry to bother you so late in the evening,” Whiskers began.

“No bother,” Doctor Marlowe interrupted obviously looking at something off holo, “Its only 8 am here.”

Whiskers masked his surprise as best he could, while making a “wait” gesture below the window to Puddles in the corner who looked ready to pounce on the holo, regardless of the window. “I’m sorry, did you say 8 am?”

“That is correct.” Doctor Marlowe chuckled, “You thought I was there? No, I’m in [static] working.”

“Where are you working?” Whiskers asked.

“The security filter prevents some information from transmitting. Suffice to say, I am off site. Is there a reason why you wanted to see me?”

“Before I answer that, how long have you been off site?”

“Weeks. Why?”

“Then you did not hire us to look into your missing daughters?” Whiskers asked, knowing the answer.

Shaking his head, “No I did not. What is this about?”

“A man claiming to be you hired our investigative firm to find his missing daughters. Following his information we tracked their location to Tumbledown.”

“I’m sorry I don’t have any daughters,” Doctor Marlowe replied. “Did you happen to find anyone?” He asked.

Whiskers thought he heard a nervous tone in Marlowe’s voice, “No one matching the descriptions we were given. We did encounter some gangers with some unusual tech.”

“Oh…,” Doctor Marlowe hesitated, obviously looking at something off-holo. “No, I did not hire you nor do I have any daughters. Tumbledown you say…I’m sorry but I must get back to my work. I’m sorry I could not be of more help.”

Without warning, the holo ended.

Model Growth

Building a model has plenty of things to teach the builder, especially when the builders are children. As part of Warhammer 40k armies have vehicles. Vehicles are two things, expensive and in many pieces. Thus, being a good parent I had each child earn the money to purchase their vehicles. Unexpectedly, they worked harder than I expected and earned the money in record time.

Expensive not out of the way, but covered by their diligent work.

Next up, many pieces.

Games Workshop models, all varities, have directions. The quality of the directions have changed over the years with the most recent directions being the best; high resolution images, multiple views, and easy to follow steps. Older instructions are bad. Just plain bad; low resolution images, single view, and often five of more steps giving with one illustration with no indication of what order the pieces are assembled.

Our children got kits with older instructions. I told them that I would be there to assist with the models expecting that I would be the one building the entire kit. A big reason I am pushing 40k on the kids are the numerous skills that they can learn, especially building models.

Patience, building a model takes patience. Rushing a build, as our son found out, can lead to some interesting problems, such as their not being enough space for the driver without breaking off some other parts.

Problem solving, reading and interpreting instructions is one thing, figuring out how pieces fit together another and when something goes wrong, see above, how you handle or solve the issue is another.

Creativity, they could build the kits as is or they could get creative. Our boy added parts from one kit to another and our girl worked out the look that appealed to her most.

Three skills I am more than happy for them to learn. Still I expected to end up building the models. Imagine my surprise when they built all of their kits with minimal assistance from me. Our boy learned the hard way that rush building leads to complications, such as the driver not fitting without some modification. He learned to interpret the instructions, such as when one image shows at least ten different parts going on the same piece at the same time. He learned how to problem solve when interpretation failed and he had to cut off a piece to get other pieces in place. Our girl watched her brother and decided not to rush the build. Good for her. She still had to learn to read the instructions. Interestingly enough she did not run into the same issues as he did.

When they finished I had offered suggestions and confirmed parts a few times, showed them how to use rubber bands to hold parts together, put decals on, and reinforce that they could indeed build their own vehicles. Now I have to deal with them on the tabletop. 🙂

Moments to Myself

Maintain heat, keep an eye on the food.

“Dad can you help me?”

A text from someone.

Back to the food, while one dish cooks, prep another.

“Dad…”

Two days of cooking, one long trip to bring someone replacement pants, and I finally have some time to myself. I know that sounds bad, as in, I have not had any time to myself…boo hoo. Nothing like that, more along the lines of feeling like I have been doing so much other stuff that I have not taken time to myself. Thus, no boo hoo, more of a whew, cooking and mowing the lawn have kicked the crap out of the still working off a winter of nothing me.

Bentoing is in full swing. Our refrigerator is packed full of goodies. I am not exaggerating either. Each time I make something else I have to spend five minutes arranging everything to make room. There are four types of chicken, three types of cauliflower, two types of carrots, a ton of rice and cold noodles, tamago, and at least a dozen other dishes in there waiting for hungry people or me to pack a bento for Barb. Once I find some place in the fridge 7.5 pounds of pork shoulder is getting turned into pickled pork for red beans and rice, pork for asian dishes, and pulled pork because pulled pork is yummy.

All of the cooking is tiring. And hot. I hope I have sweated off 10 pounds. I have not, but the summer is young. Between rounds of cooking, what is a round of cooking you ask? When I dirty up all of the cooking utensils the cleaning crew, kids, come in and clean up. While they clean, I figure out what is next, then back to the kitchen. They are tired of cleaning dishes. I told them they get a break…I lied, in a bit I will be making sauces. 🙂

Around the cooking, is cleaning, mostly mowing. With almost 2 acres the lawn must get mowed…when the lawn has been watered via rain and is not mostly brown or completely weed grown. This time, much to my chagrin, weed grown. I have a mowed almost 2 acres, took three days, and most of it is brown. I am not a lawn person, in fact if the weeds didn’t look so weedy I would let the lawn grow for the whole season in the hope that next year there really was green grass. Alas, mostly weeds until rain arrives in force. Scattered rain for three days is not what our lawn needs. Just the humidity.

Here I am after two days, sore, tired, happy belly, awesome smelling house, a fridge full of food, and I have not done much for myself. What is stuff for me? Writing, painting, and reading. Oh I forgot, a few smaller projects, such as the list of games I would like to sell or trade which I keep meaning to do…but…you read the last few days. Once I get that out of the way, back to working on Puddles and Whiskers and painting some miniatures for the new version of Warhammer 40k.

 

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB On The Drive…

This Chapter used to be long. Now this Chapter is shorter. In exchange for splitting the Chapter apart I added more detail about the City. I’m not sure if this is enough detail for me, but for now this gives a much better view of where they are and where they are going.

Previously.

On the Drive…

Letting the car auto-fly following City mandated flight paths, Puddles settled back into her seat and watched Stroud turn from dark and dreary to bright and hopeful. Dark and dreary Eastern Stroud quickly became the rear view as the lights and glitter of Central Stroud came into view.

Immense building taller than the clouds, lit up with moving holo-advertisements, lights, and old-fashioned billboards looked like a crowded forest of metal, steel, and lights fighting to be best looking. Large squat block buildings created clear zones where the block buildings dominated the space, pushing the tall buildings to the edges. All around the City signs and moving holo-ads bigger than the building their office was located in advertised the latest brands of fad foods, beverages, mechanical augmentation, and more. Puddles stared at the hundred foot tall moving holo-ad of a human female wearing the latest clothing fad dancing and twirling along the sides of three buildings, her clothing morphing into a new outfit seamlessly with each dance step. As they passed the holo-ad, eyes bigger than the car illuminated the interior enough the auto-shade feature of the windows activated.

Flying traffic moved all around them in a computer coordinated dance. Vehicles of shapes, sizes, and colors flew about. The newest models of luxury and sports vehicles flying to the latest hotspots while slower moving cargo vehicles transported goods all over the city. Leaning in her seat, Puddles watched ground traffic on the elevated roads move around the city.

“Is that new?” Puddles asked pointing to a tall tower wrapped in a moving holo of vines growing to the top, sprouting vivid multicolor flowers that blew apart, the colorful petals falling to the ground starting the pattern.

Looking up from his tablet, Whiskers replied with a non-committal grunt.

Titan Industries located on an edge of the business distract stood apart from other buildings due to the building’s size and appearance. Taller and wider than any other building the entire structure white with blue stripes on the corners. The only exterior decoration small windows, land pads, and the iconic blue with white bordered T on each face of the building. At this hour, little traffic flew around Titan Industries.

“Titan control,” a flight controller said, “to approaching vehicle.”

Looking up from his data-pad, Whiskers said, “You should answer them.”

“Titan control, we are here to see Doctor Dan,” Puddles said.

“Do you have an appointment?”

Grabbing the tip of her nostril, Puddles shook her head, “No. This is an emergency meeting.”

Silence.

Puddles looked at Whiskers who shrugged.

“There is no Doctor Dan in the building at this time.”

“Shit. Wait…what was his name?” Puddles irritatedly said.

“Remember you left his name on the desk,” Whiskers sarcastically replied.

Shooting Whiskers an exasperated expression, Puddles gestured towards the approaching building.

Whiskers waved her expression and gesture off, “Titan control, our mistake. We are here to see Doctor Marlowe. He should be expecting us, PW Investigations.”

More silence.

“Coordinates to the 33rd floor landing pad have been sent to your vehicle. Do not alter flight path.”