One Turn, Six Hours A Learning Experience

Build, paint, and play that was the plan for the weekend. Build, paint, and play Warhammer 40k. Our girl had a great idea for a girls vs boys game. Excellent, except for a few things.

  • The players with the most experience, myself and our boy would be on one side.
  • The players with the largest armies, again myself and our boy, on the same side.

Other than those things the only other issue, the same issue we keep running into because our printer/scanner is not the best we flip through the indexes when we need to refer to a unit’s stats. This happens often. For our boy and I this is less of an issue because we have played a lot of games with our respective armies. For everyone else, problematic.

Building and painting went well. I mean, I finished another unit of Death Guard and Nurgle demons. I even painted a Demon Prince for Barb’s army; that makes at least one unit painted by me for each player. Our boy painted a unit or two of orks. Everyone else, not so much. Barb did finish her Hell Drake and it looks great. I doubt there will be another Hell Drake. Watching her paint and assemble the model showed me that I don’t want to deal with hassle. Shannon worked on her Tau, fiddly models, that look great, but make me really glad I am not building an army of them.

Game Day: The table is a mix of buildings and deathworld forest. Objective and Twist cards drawn from Open War.

  • Boys Objective Card: Each side designates a figure that is the courier, kill the opposing courier and win.
  • Girls Objective: Turn 3 a meteor crashes into the warzone, control the meteor at the end of turn 5 and win.

The Twist cards were uninspiring as there were already two objectives (we play slightly differently with each team having an objective instead of one objective for both teams) and there was only one psyker.

Set up, as expected, took a while as there were five armies to deploy. However, as I watched I removed my army to make the sides closer to even. Plus this left me to flip through the books and offer advice to both sides. Having someone to flip through stat books did allow players to focus. Still our goal is to have an easier way to refer to stats during a game.

Boys Side: Our boy’s entire ork army minus his plane and helicopter.

Girls Side: An Imperial Guard force of a Leman Russ, Chimera, and 25 infantry. A Slaanesh force of a Demon Prince, Hell Drake, and 10 Chaos Space Marines. A Tau force of a Devilfish, a Stealth team, a Battlesuit Team, a Warlord, and 20 some Tau.

Based on appearances, our boy should win handily. Based on objectives he should lose because his courier was in the middle of the board; their behind a building. Opening turn, girls get first turn. Barb descends upon the unit covering our boy’s courier inflicting heavy damage; this was the best their side got during turn 1.

Our girl couldn’t see much and didn’t move much. In fact her Leman Russ was the only thing of hers that moved and then missed most of the time. Shannon’s Tau looked and sounded fearsome.  Unfortunately no matter how many troops you have, no matter how many bonuses to hit, and rerolls you get shitty die rolls are still shitty die rolls and Shannon saw more than anyone’s fair share.

At the end of their turn, roughly 20 orks were dead or fled the field. Then the green surge happened. Our boy tied up most of the Tau in hand to hand, which eliminated their ability to shoot, the demon prince was killed by his dreadnaught, and the Leman Russ locked down by a Battlewagon.

Then the game ended. Not because a courier had died, but for the simple reason 6 hours had passed from start to the end of turn 1. If everyone had more experience playing the game would have gone a lot faster and with time this will happen. Until then slower games, but much smaller. 🙂

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Power Outage Preventive Post

Tomorrow right around the time I normally post the power could be on or it could be off. I would use the Schrodinger’s analogy, but I will have an outcome and never have to wonder if I open the fridge will the light be on. Unfortunately, I will not know until either too early or too late. Being a proactive solutions oriented fellow I am writing this now.

I would like to say I have Puddles and Whiskers, but I do not. I am writing a rather large section which is not ready for show. Sorry.

I can with the exception of two vehicles I have finished my Deathwatch army…for now. 40k is a weird sort of cold war mechanic to it. You do not need to participate. You can build what you like and be done. However, you may find yourself on the losing end a lot. When you live with three other players and have a fourth who plays, the cold war mechanic comes into play a lot.

I have three squads of infantry and two troop transports. That was all I was going to build. Then our boy built a plane and a huge squad of something or the other. To counter this I built a dreadnaught. Then he built one. Then he got a plane. Now I have one. I added jump pack troops and so did he.

Eventually you reach a point where enough is enough or you figure you have enough for any situation. I’m between both of those. I am done painting mostly black everything with a bit of gold and red for color. I need something new to paint just for variety, see if I know what other colors of paint there are. After our last big game I know I have enough for most situations and as long as I play well I should do fine. However, there is a limit to this and I know that a few units here or there added to anyone’s army means I will need to add something to mine. For now though, I am almost finished. Not my first finished army, but my first finished army in over 10-years and close to double the size of previous armies.

Painting and writing out of the way, I spent more time practicing disc golf with our girl. She has a funny way to throw. I have no clue why I never noticed or she could have been goofing off, but when she threw her disc and kicked her leg out like a bowler or ballerina I almost fell over. Her disc flew off into the distance and she had to chase it. A few hours of teaching her how I threw a disc resulted in some good family fun and bonding time, but I never did get her to keep that food down. Maybe her flamingo stance will pay off, but for now she keeps losing at horse. 🙂

A Tidal Wave Of Green Plastic

Finally, our game table is seeing Warhammer 40k as we had intended since day one. The purchase of the Open War deck changed play as we hoped for the better. Typically someone divides the table in two, terrain is set up, and what follows is the classic fight until one side is destroyed. We were tired of this and set up using the scenarios in the rulebook border on the annoying.

With the Open War deck we pulled some cards and immediately began playing. First card determined deployment zones, in our case the table was split in half. Two cards for objectives, one for each of us. I drew victory through defeating his leaders and vehicles. Our boy drew victory thought capturing objectives. He did not tell me that both us could earn points towards victory with those objectives. Oh well. Finally each of us drew a Twist card. Mine allowed my units to move 2″ extra and 1″ extra when charging or advancing. Normally a great thing, extra mobility. He drew, all of his units gained 1 extra attack. Meaning his normally meat grinder of units became super meat grinders. Moving faster towards them not what I wanted to do.

Then we pulled out the models and set up. A solid wall of green miniatures. That was his army. A truck, a tank, a plane, and a dreadnaught breaking up the wall. Not much of a break up as the truck and tank were carrying more models. Ugh. Remember I did not know what his objective was and he did not know mine.

First turn, I moved into a defensive position occupying the center of the table. The extra move from the Twist card came in handy. Only odd move of mine, moving my dreadnaught and two commanders to take out his dreadnaught and big mek (ork scientist) with huge scary looking gun on my flank.

His plane flew over the battlefield. His truck and tank charged forward leaving every other ork in the dust. His wall of green…try to imagine 100 people trying to fit through one door…that is what happened. He set up his figures with little room for movement and then failed to move his forward units faster than the rear units. Funny and scary because they would become unstuck if I didn’t do something.

Second turn, I disembarked my five-man squads from the razorbacks, moved my assault squad over to his side of the board, and dropped a terminator squad onto the middle of the table. His truck died, his burna squad (orks with flamethrowers) died, and his stormboys died on my turn.

His turn saw…well it’s hard to describe, the entire wall of green shifted to the right for no reason I could discern. This left his dreadnaught and tank isolated without support. He did kill off my assault squad, kill a terminator, and have me scratching my head.

Third turn, his dreadnaught, tank, and most of the nobz inside died. His warboss went down under the combined firepower of my remaining terminators, and his screen of grots died. This left him with a huge number of orks, but nothing else.

He conceded to me at the start of his turn. He figured he would finish off my last five man squad and some of the terminators, but lose many of his orks in return leaving the rest to get mopped up by my two tanks, dreadnaught, and characters.

After the match we talked, he acknowledged his setup was bad which hampered his ability to get his whole army into the fight. What parts he did were devastating to my army. As for the shift to the right, he was attempting to cover an objective for the victory points.

Next up our girl and her pink army.

Just Not In The Mood Or Is The Mood The Problem?

There are times when I know I should sit down and write. Writing is something I do everyday or at least try to do everyday. I have more on days than off by a long shot. Bouncing around my noggin is more Puddles and Whiskers. There is also a stray thought or two for another story involving them, a roleplaying campaign, and some other writing.

Typically with that much bouncing around I sit down in front of the computer and write. Not today. No idea why, just not in the mood to write. To allow the ideas FOR writing to bounce around and take shape for sure, but not write. It’s a weird place to be in.

I spent and am spending a lot of time painting and reading. With 9 figures to go, I am close, very close, to finishing my Death Watch army for Warhammer 40k. I know, I know you never really finish an army. Building an army is like writing, you constantly tinker with it until you are finally satisfied that there is nothing more you can do. After a few games, I will tinker away.

Speaking of that, finally taught family friend and the rest of the family how to play Warhammer 40k. Previous attempts to teach under the old rules went as expected, interest, but not too much interest because of the complexity of the game. The new rules, ten minutes into teaching and they were playing without much assistance from me. And better, actual interest in playing again.

I’d like to say that has me ocupied, but it does not. I think that is my main issue right now, there is a sense that something is going to happen, that Spring/Summer get out and do something vibe, except this is not a get out and do, but a something is up. Hard to explain other than to say I pay attention to these vibes. Paying attention to this one has me distracted.

Distracted enough that I bounce between one thing to another and back again. I am reading Fate Core, Ciaphus Cain Hero of the Imperium, two different Warhammer 40k indexes, a host of comic books, and few other books. Read a few pages or a chapter, paint part of a miniature, try to settle down, and repeat. Ugh. Frustrating to me.

Who knows this could blow away soon and back to my non-distracted self.

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.