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.

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. 🙂

I Captured Bob The Ork

Our first game of Shadow War Armageddon felt…odd. With the new rules around the corner, using a combination of new and old rules felt at times clunky. But there was more than that.

Ten orks vs 5-man Inquisition team. Our boy’s orks, armed to the teeth with melee weapons. My inquisition team armed to the teeth with ranged weapons. He likes to close and chop and I like to set up lanes of fire.

He set up a massive jungle covered factory complex for us to fight in. I would share pics, but for some unexplainable reason (I asked he had no reason), he set up his team directly across from mine, taking a 6 x 6 board and reducing it to 3 x 6. I suggested otherwise. I asked. And he smiled like he knew something I didn’t.

He did not.

Summing up the action, he walked for three turns. I ran for one and shot for two turns.  He had 3 orks down before he decided to run and then bottled out or ran away to preserve his team.

Not very actiony. In fact, most of our play time was spent consulting charts. Lots of charts. Charts to hit because with all of the modifiers to hit introduced both of us had to roll over 7 on a single six-sided die. Yes, roll a 7 or more on a die that stops at 6. How do you do this? First roll a six, then roll again looking for 4 or more. Problem: When you roll a 6 that figure has to make an ammunition check, fail the check and the weapon is useless for the rest of the game. So even if you hit, you had a chance of running out of ammunition. See what I mean by clunky?

So now that you hit someone, consult a chart to see if you can wound them. Eventually the chart will get memorized. Next roll to see if they save the wound. If they don’t roll to see what kind of wound. In 40k a wound is a wound. In Shadow War a wound can be hide, lay there and bleed, or out.

I know with more games under our belt this will become easier, but I couldn’t help feel and still feel that this could be streamlined to keep the action and reduce the amount of time rolling dice.

Post game is interesting. In the vein of a campaign, each player goes through some end game steps. Get your reward of cash, a skill, or some other stuff. Those wounded figures find out what happened to them by rolling on another chart that can lead to rolling on one last chart.

With all of the above everyone had fun. That is most important. Our boy lost to me, but only because he didn’t charge the whole way across the board and he knew it. He also had Bob the Ork (his name) captured by my team so he has a reason to get back at me. Meanwhile onlookers were interested enough that an Imperial Guard team was created afterwards.

Finally Shadow War Armageddon

There is the game and the hobby. With most Games Workshop games you have to make a choice, do you play the game or do you work the hobby and then play your game. I am positive there is an in between where you do both, but I have never been that guy. I am either going to play the game with unpainted miniatures or I am going to spend the time to paint my miniatures and then play the game. I like to delay my pleasure.

Yes, I know I could play the game AND paint the miniatures. But I don’t and let me tell you why…okay I don’t have a why. I do have a story which is a combination of stories.

While working at the hobby shop I was routinely challenged to play games. In theory the guy selling you games should be the best or something like that. I and Big Man turned down no challenges. We really had little to do other than read games, learn games, paint miniatures, and sell games. Challenges were our way to have sanctioned fun.

Here is how most games of 40k went, if you showed up with unpainted miniatures we shot all of your painted stuff first. If you showed up with an army of unpainted miniatures or talked too much shit, we used our encyclopedic knowledge of the rules to end games quick. Our record 1-turn: we warned them repeatedly that putting all of your miniatures in a building was not good or smart. They stopped laughing at their fortress when it was leveled with all inside on turn one. If you showed up with all painted miniatures no matter how good or bad you thought they were we played you and had a good game.

Messed up I know. In my mind taking the time to paint your miniatures demonstrates that you have a vested interest in the game. In my experience people who take the time to engage in the hobby also take the time to invest in the game, learning the rules, being good players, and the like. Thus, my dislike of unpainted miniatures…I guess I do have a reason.

So here we are, over a month or two ago we purchased Shadow War Armageddon. Since that time everyone with one notable exception (cough cough Barb) has worked on their army/kill team (pic of our boy’s orks waiting to rumble). I encouraged everyone to continue painting their 40k army and to use part of that for their kill team, double dip.

My shoulder injury slowed me down, but feeling better I finally finished my kill team up in time to play our first games this weekend. Our boy and his orks are eagerly looking forward to kicking my inquisition to the curb. Our girl and her all pink imperial guard are chomping at the bit to get at the winner. She is bummed her tank will not see any play. We are thankful for that reprieve.

Keep an eye out for the images and game play post. 🙂

 

Armageddon Sick Warhammer Pre-Work

Today is Saturday, I did not have to check my phone. Thus I am getting better. In fact I would like to say I refuse to acknowledge that I am indeed sick, but the body racking coughs and sinus pressure remind me by the minute that I am indeed sick. However, I refuse to lie in bed any more. Two days was more than enough for me.

The upside to this attitude, I am doing things. The downside, plenty of naps. Sick sucks.

Normally, I would be writing about the games we played, as you may have guessed sick means no games. Sorry. We are bummed too. That being said I have read the rules to Shadow War Armageddon, the successor to Necromunda.

Warhammer 40k has a problem, to much pre-work to do to play. Yes, I am aware that you can play right out of the box; just spend a few hours assembling figures, reading the rules, and play on a flat tabletop. If you have ever played Warhammer 40k then you know how boring this is and how disinterested people get; not everyone wants to play space marines or orks or chaos or whatever other race is facing off against space marines.

To get people interested and keep their interest they need to see what a game can be, that means pre-work. In our case and I will guess most gaming groups case, one person learns the rules to teach the others, assembles and paints miniatures for two sides to fight, and assembles and paints some terrain to fight over. Hopefully, and in our case it worked, everyone gets interested.

Great now everyone in interested…except…that’s right they don’t have their own pieces. If you are lucky, and we got lucky twice, people want to use the starter armies, I happen to like space marines and our boy likes orks. While everyone else is looking for their armies there is teaching them how to assemble with a minimal amount of injury and paint their armies. This is work. The job is to make it not feel like work, too many people abandon Warhammeresque games due to the work. Thankfully, I seem to hit the right mark as everyone is still working on their armies.

However, while they are assembling and painting they are not playing. What to do? Find games that allow them to use smaller groups of figures to play while they work on their armies. Kill Team was supposed to be the first attempt, but most people were still figuring out what they wanted to play.

Thankfully, at the right moment, Shadow War Armageddon came along. Using three to ten figures (on average) everyone can play a game that uses figures from their army, thus maintaining interest in 40k. Now this is where getting sick comes in, the plan was to start playing this weekend…I’m sick no games (I do not infect friends and family if I can avoid it).

So while I recuperate, they build their Shadow War Kill Teams, which they can use in their Warhammer 40k armies. Lots of pre-work, but when the work is done the fun looks and plays great.

Gaming, Painting, Grilling Oh My!

I’m waiting for a wash to dry, otherwise I would be relaxing and recharging the batteries some more. This weekend is all about relaxing, enjoying company of friends and family, and taking the time to enjoy life. Toss in learning how to use a grill and paint. 🙂

Without a doubt the biggest thing this weekend has been not writing anything at all. I’m a big fan of taking time off from writing, not weeks, just a couple of days in a row. Cease thinking about the characters and their issues and focus on me…and my issues. Biggest issue I run into is rushing a story to the “end” instead of taking the time to allow the story to grow. This is funny to me because as a GM (Gamemaster) for over 20 years rushing a story only leads to a bad game. Yet, it has only been in the last few years that I put the connection between running a game and writing a story together.

The need to slow down is one of the reasons our weekends are usually game filled, the other reason is games are fun. This weekend was less games and more prep for future games. We did play Rise of the Goblins and while we won the scenario the die rolls pointed to a disaster if we kept playing. Which is why we put Rise of the Goblins up and played a lot of Roll For It. I know, irony, the dice in one game say bad things ahead (lots of 1’s rolled) and pick up a game that is ONLY die rolling.

Yesterday, nice transition, was all about figuring out how to get a fire to do more than flare up and die out before the food was on the grill. I love our old grill, but without the ability to move the fire away from the food burning happened more often than not. The new grill gives me control, but new is also a learning experience. So far, grill 1.5 to me .5. The food was great, the process a pain in the butt.

In and around grilling, painting. There are four people assembling, painting, or pointing (scoring) Warhammer 40K armies out at anyone time. Crazy at times when all four are painting and assembling at one time. There is a certain rhythm like a well oiled machine when people can pass around paint, glue, offer advice, assist with assembling, and pass tools. When that rhythm hits, everyone can do what they want at the table without interruption. When the rhythm is off, a lot of sighing, groaning, and cursing; not at each other but miniatures that refuse to cooperate. Yes, miniatures can refuse to cooperate; glue won’t adhere, paint rubs off, or the dreaded miniature makes a break for it by breaking when it slams into the floor. Miniatures should not try to escape.

Overall, a good weekend of relaxing and doing “stuff.” Tomorrow back to writing, Puddles and Whiskers have hammered my brain all weekend, so they get to come out and play. 🙂