Friday, December 30, 2011

Hobby: End of Year Report

The year is drawing to a close, and it is unlikely that I'm going to get anymore hobby activities done, even though my Carnivean is only a few hours away from being fully painted.

So here is the final tally:

Models Assembled
Warmachine: Cryx
2 Harrowers
Captain Rengrave

Warmachine: Mercenaries
Thor Steinhammer
Ghordson Basher
Ogrun Bokur

Hordes: Legion of Everblight
2 Harriers
1 Forsaken
1 Typhon
5 Blighted Ogrun Warspears
1 Blighted Ogrun Warchief
6 Blighted Swordsmen
Blighted Swordsmen Unit Attachment

Warhammer Fantasy: High Elves
20 Lothern Seaguard
5 Swordmasters of Hoeth
1 High Elf Mage
High Elf Dragon w/Rider

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marines
1 Drop Pod

1 Ramos
1 Electrical Creation
3 Steampunk Arachnids
1 Steampunk Arachnid Swarm
1 Steamborg Executioner

Models Painted
4 Shredders

Not listed are the last few miniatures I had painted by Blue Table Painting. I haven't posted pictures of the previous projects I've done with them, but in this case they already did a video of the latest, which means all I have to do is embed the video.

I haven't stopped by the office to pick them up, but I'm excited to get these nice new miniatures on the board.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Letters from Whitechapel

I finally broke my Fantasy Flight streak and played some Letters from Whitechapel recently. Although Fantasy Flight didn't make it (Italian games publisher Nexus did) the game adheres to the same high quality bar that Fantasy Flight has set for all of their titles. Kudos to Nexus for a compelling and well crafted board game!

The game's setting puts you in late 19th century London during Jack the Ripper's reign of terror. One player takes on the role of Jack, while the other players are tasked with tracking and arresting the notorious killer.

The two sides have different resources available. After the murder, Jack can use carriages and back alleys that he can use to try to get back to his secret base before daybreak. While he's doing this the detectives can move around the board attempting to pick up Jack's trail and arrest him before he returns to his hideout.

The game has a lot of similarities to Fantasy Flight's Fury of Dracula. Each sides has access to a disparate set of abilities and has a distinct win condition. Each game is about one team chasing the other around the board, and the quarry has things they can do to throw his pursuers off. Each game has a high quality board and set of tokens.

And each game is a lot of fun.

Just like Dracula, the person who plays the Ripper in Letters from Whitechapel needs to have the right mindset going in. The player needs to almost be a Roleplaying Game Master. In the game I played it would have been easy for Jack to have simply won by ending the game on the last two turns before the investigators were even able to take an action. So Jack can be a little overpowered in some cases.

But this game is about the chase. It's about Jack's hubris. His belief that he is untouchable by the bumblers from Scotland Yard. In the end, it's about his downfall or ultimate triumph after a series of harrowing close calls. If Jack goes in just trying to win at all costs, he'll likely do so, but some of the magic of Letters from Whitechapel will be lost.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Legion of Everblight Battle Box

(image used without permission. Copyright Privateer Press)

The Legion of Everblight Battle Box presents some fun challenges for a Hordes Player. You get a lot of beasts but have a warlock with a low fury. I'm going to talk about my experience with the battle box and some of its strengths, weaknesses and strategies.

Let's talk about the contents, taking all the pieces in turn.

Lylyth - Her primal version has a number of abilities that make up for her low fury stat. Blood Lure on her bow means that you can get your beasts to charge for free, Witch Mark means that you should always be shooting enemies with your bow if you want to cast a spell on them and her feat makes everything in your army more accurate. Her last ability, Bushwack, is mainly used to get her out of trouble in the middle or late game. Just remember that you can't get the aiming bonus for giving up your movement and then use Bushwack.
She's got three spells and most of the time she's only going to have enough fury to cast one of them.
  • Bad Blood - Punishes a player for leaching fury and prevents quite a few of the more useful parts about warbeasts. Since it only affects warbeasts it won't do you any good against an opponent using a warmachine army. The damage from leaching isn't as big a deal in battlebox games since most of the time your opponent will be glad to take the four or five damage for leaching in exchange for turn in which he can cripple or kill you. Still, it makes the game more difficult for your opponent, and every little bit can help, so if you have the extra fury you might as well throw it on something you hit with your bow that turn.
  • Parasite - Absolutely the best spell in her list. Dramatically lowers an opponents ARM and slightly buffs Lylyth's. Put this on anything that you want to ensure your Carnivean kills. Best is if you can put it on the enemy caster and then upkeep it for the rest of the (probably short) game. You can also use it on one of your shredders the first turn of the game to help keep Lylyth safe from any stray hits.
  • Eruption of Spines - This is the sneakiest spell in her list. In larger games you'll generally use this to kill off infantry, but in battle box games you can often use it to get some damage on enemy casters hiding behind their warbeasts. Just shoot the low def warbeast, cast Eruption of Spines on it and boost the damage roll when it arcs into the squishy caster behind.
Carnivean - There's not a lot of subtlety to this guy. He has a lot of attacks and hits very hard. His animus is good, and should be used every turn there's even a remote chance that something might hit it. The two extra points of armor will mean it takes your opponent one or two more hits before they can take down the beast down. The only real trick up this guy's sleeve is his ranged spray attack. In combination with his Assault ability, you have a nineteen inch threat radius when you declare a charge and use assault to take your breath attack before your activation ends. The spray hits hard enough that most enemy casters will be in serious trouble from a boosted hit. Remember, too that the spray can hit things that are hiding, so charge assaulting a front line unit to spray something behind it is a possibility.

Shredders - You've get four of these guys. The best way to think about these guys is not as warbeasts, but as a unit of elite solos. Their job is to tie up enemy forces, provide speed bumps and act as bait. They'll have a hard time hurting heavies, but if they gang up they can bring down a light in one turn. Their ideal turn looks like this:
  1. Lylyth shoots something, marking it with Blood Lure.
  2. Shredder activates, forced for one to go rabid.
  3. Charges up to eleven inches to their target. Free charge because of blood lure.
  4. Gets forced for an extra fully boosted attack against its target.
Shredders are fast and beasts generally need to boost to guarantee hits on them. It's usually a good idea to keep one of the four back as a transfer target in case Lylyth takes a hit or two.

The battlebox has two other general rules going for it shared by all models. Everyone has Pathfinder (shredders get it from going rabid) which means terrain isn't going to bother you, and everyone also has eyeless sight, which means that you're going to be able have line of sight on everything unless there's an intervening model or non-forest piece of terrain.

Journeyman League

The journeyman league is going strong in these parts. I'm a part of it at my local game store and I'm using it as the impetus to get the few legion models I own assembled and painted. I've created a bar at the right to track my progress and to help me visualize my goal.

Week three of the league starts on Thursday. So far I've played 3 games, of which I won two, and painted four little beasts. According to the rules that's only 12 points total, so I don't think I'm in the running for taking home any prizes, but it's all about the journey.

I realize I've been slacking when it comes to updates here at Stone Corridors, so at least for the duration of the league I'll be doing regular posts. Next update will be about my thoughts regarding tactics and strategy for the Legion of Everblight Battle Box.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Terminus as a Front Line Caster: Army Lists

I've already posted one 35 point list in my previous posts. I'm hanging out with a friend tonight and we are going to play some lower points games so I thought I would tackle the list building portion of my homework. I'm supposed to be building lists keeping the following in mind:
  1. List will include troop options to block avenues of attack to the warcaster.
  2. List will include models with abilities that deny enemy models their ability to move or act.
  3. List will include models with abilities that promote focus efficiency. (See my article on Cryx and focus efficiency).
We'll start with a 15 point list:
  • Terminus - Of course
  • Deathjack - This guy is the king of focus efficiency and deadliness. His only downside is that he tends to steal souls that could otherwise go to Terminus. If I owned a Seether model I would switch Deathjack out for that and add a Pistol Wraith to increase my ability to freeze models.
  • 6 Bane Thralls - I love these guys, and they do a good job serving as Terminus' escort.
  • Warwitch Siren - Not super effective at this points level since she won't be putting focus on deathjack, but her venom attack can come in handy and her shadow bind ability has a good chance to root an opposing warjack/beast for a turn.
For 25 points I would add to the above:
  • Slayer - Open hands let the slayer lock the weapon systems of opposing jacks. The Warwitch will give this guy the single point of focus he needs in a turn.
  • Pistol Wraith - Chain Attack: Death Chill roots opposing models and POW:12 shots are a big threat to opposing infantry and solos.
The 25 point list is actually one point under, so you could swap the Bane Thralls for Bane Knights. The knights are more maneuverable thanks to ghostly, but you give up the debuff aura that the thralls provide.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Terminus as a Front Line Caster. Report Card

Yesterday I talked about modifying my playstyle to put Terminus up on the front lines. I also had a chance to play a game. Learning without feedback rarely works, so I figured to give myself a grade on my first test.

The game was against an infantry heavy Trollblood list. A big unit of champions, some runeshapers and krielstone bearers, backed up by Madrak, one mauler and a host of solos and unit attachments. It was an interesting list. Lots of activations, lots of medium sized tough models with high armor values.

As a reminder, here is the list I brought:
  • Lich Lord Terminus
  • Deathjack
  • Slayer
  • Bane Lord Tartarus
  • 6 Bane Thralls
  • Gorman Di Wulfe
  • Pistol Wraith
  • Warwitch Siren
  • Withershadow Combine.
In yesterday's post I had six things I was supposed to be practicing. Here they are along with how I think I did.
  1. The student will keep their warcaster on the front lines. I did well on this one. Terminus was out front and attacked something every round he could. Once the battle lines met he gathered a soul token every round. However, I still played him a bit timidly, keeping him off the very front line and only engaging with one opposing model at a time. GRADE: B
  2. As much focus as possible should be left on the warcaster. I didn't boost or buy any extra attacks. The warjacks were left to their own devices. Terminus took a bit of damage over the course of the game, but the boosted power field frustrated my opponents attacks. GRADE: A
  3. The warcaster should be activated and moved before troops. Good job here, too. Knowing Terminus' final position informed the movement and attacks of the rest of my army. GRADE: A
  4. The warcaster should take advantage of reach. Terminus kept what he was killing at the edge of his reach. Even had he failed to kill what he attacked the trolls would have had a hard time attacking back. GRADE: A
  5. The student should use the abilities of other models to neutralize the movement and abilities of the opponent's forces. Whoops. I didn't lock any weapons (there was only one opposing beast), but more importantly my warwitch and pistol wraith, who should have been slowing down the opposing force didn't even attack the whole game. No excuses. Just fail. GRADE: F
  6. The player should strive for a feat turn that generates three or more souls. Whoops again. I didn't even use Terminus' feat. There were at least two turns where I could have turned some dead trolls into souls. Those trolls are tough to bring down so maybe not three, but not feating at all is a total failure on my part. GRADE: F
So if we average out our first test I come up with a D+. Those two Fs really hurt my overall grade. Despite winning the match by having Deathjack pounce on Madrak I still almost flunked. I need to keep doing what I'm doing but I have to pay attention to potential feat turns and not be so timid with my toolbox solos.

As a final thought, playing Terminus more aggressively feels really rewarding. Much less like he's a weight my army is hauling around and more like he's the center and the rest is there to support him. Which is how I think it should be.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Terminus as a Front Line Caster

When I decided to start collecting Cryx I knew right away that my caster of choice was going to be Terminus. The model is huge and imposing. The perfect centerpiece to lead the dragonfather's undead legions. One large order from Blue Table Painting later, and I was in business.

My troubles started when I hit the field. Terminus is great in combat. On my turn he can use his pile of focus to destroy anything that he can reach. This is only fitting for a model as large and imposing as him. The trouble starts on my opponent's turn.

Time and again Terminus would be on the front lines, destroying my opponent's jacks and warbeasts, and time and again he would be destroyed on my opponents turn to a counter charge, often from the opposing warcaster. Terminus was not living up to my expectations. His spell list is fairly weak in terms of offensive and defensive capabilities. I ended up adopting a strategy that had Terminus hanging in the back, passively making my undead warriors tough. While this still worked to a point, it was hardly the playstyle I had been dreaming of. There are a lot of other casters out there that work better when they hang out on the back lines.

So, after reading some articles at Game Over, specifically ones about learning new skills, I've decided to start over and learn how to run Terminus as a front line caster.

Taking a tip from 40K for the New Professional, we'll start by identifying the possible solutions for overcoming the problems I'm having.
  • Problem: I play Terminus from the back ranks, where his abilities are not put to good use. Putting him into melee makes him extremely vulnerable and often costs me the game through caster kill. Terminus' main capabilities (spray attack, good debuff spell, good melee weapon, his feat, the cull soul ability) are useful chiefly when he is in melee range. On top of that, my imagination has Terminus leading from the front lines, chopping his opponents to pieces and feeding on their souls. None of this is accomplished by keeping Terminus away from the action.
  • Goal: Devise a set of rules to discover and ingrain strategies for keeping Terminus alive and on the front lines.
In Warmachine there are three core vectors for damage: Melee, Ranged, Magic. To keep Terminus (or really any caster) alive you have to prevent all three vectors. Back-line casters do this by simply keeping a healthy distance between themselves and the enemy. If you are far enough away and keep your army between your caster and the opposing army, it's very difficult for your opponent to apply any damage vectors to your caster. Repeated losses led me to adopt this strategy. Distance isn't a valid option here. I want Terminus on the front lines.

Ranged damage is fairly easy for Terminus to avoid. With his Sacrifical Pawn ability he can just hand off any direct hits to a nearby undead model. Easy enough. He's still vulnerable to blasts though, and about the only thing we can do in that regard is increase our armor. Lacking any spell that does this I don't know of any way to boost his armor other than to camp focus. Getting into melee is another good way of preventing ranged damage. The target in melee penalty is a pretty good defense buff.

Magic attacks are more difficult. Luckily, magic attacks are costly for our opponent to make. They usually take at least two focus just to cast, and usually your opponent will want to boost the damage and possibly the attack. That means we're looking at one or two, maybe three, offensive spells per turn from an opponent. Terminus' only real option is to weather these like a man. Again, boosting his armor with focus is his best bet. Minor strategies would be to include Orin Midwinter to make it more difficult to cast spells, bring along Gorman Di Wulfe to create a cloud effect to block line of sight or boost defense, and use terrain and intervening models to do the same.

The final, and most important, is Melee damage. The only way to avoid this is to reduce, or eliminate entirely, the number of swings your opponent gets. Luckily Cryx has numerous tools for making this happen. First and foremost is troop models. With troops between your caster and the enemy you can avoid being charged. Small based troops are nice because you can use reach to attack over their heads. Medium based troops are nice because they can't be trampled over. By making our opponents give up their move or their action we can prevent getting attacked. Pistol Wraiths can death chill, Warwitch Sirens can shadow bind, jacks can lock systems. Darragh Wrathe also has a nice ability that debuffs enemy MAT, meaning your opponent misses more or wastes focus to ensure the hits.

Of course, keeping Terminus alive isn't the only thing to learn. Equally important is learning how to make Terminus effective in close combat. I think there are a number of things to keep in mind there, but we'll save those for lesson plan two. Here is lesson plan one.
  • Student will build lists and play games using Lich Lord Terminus. By the end of the lesson the student will have demonstrated an ability to keep his warcaster alive despite being on the front lines of battle.
The student will keep the following in mind when building lists:
  1. List will include troop options to block avenues of attack to the warcaster.
  2. List will include models with abilities that deny enemy models their ability to move or act.
  3. List will include models with abilities that promote focus efficiency. (See my article on Cryx and focus efficiency).
Sample List:
  • Lich Lord Terminus
  • Deathjack
  • Slayer
  • Bane Lord Tartarus
  • 6 Bane Thralls
  • Gorman Di Wulfe
  • Pistol Wraith
  • Warwitch Siren
  • Withershadow Combine.
The list has a good number of infantry models. It also has a good number of models with tools to stop the enemy from attacking and to improve focus efficiency.

The student will be mindful of the following skills and disciplines during his games:
  1. The student will keep their warcaster on the front lines. The warcaster will be moved into melee range and will make attacks on any turn where this is possible. If a melee attack is not possible, the warcaster should be moved to make use of a ranged attack.
  2. As much focus as possible should be left on the warcaster in order to prevent damage to the warcaster. The student should avoid boosting and buying extra attacks with his warcaster.
  3. The warcaster should be activated and moved before activating troops, and troops should be moved to block opponents avenues of attack and provide fodder for sacrificial pawn.
  4. When placed in a position to attack, the warcaster should take advantage of reach, staying between half an inch and two inches away from his targets.
  5. The player should use the abilities of other models to neutralize the movement and abilities of the opponent's forces. Using head/weaponlock power attacks is encouraged. These actions should be taken before activating the warcaster so that the danger to the warcaster target can be properly decided.
  6. The player should strive for a feat turn that generates three or more souls on the warcaster.
Tonight is my regular game night. I'm hoping to get a few games in with the above list and try for some front line carnage.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh Noes - Deadline Approaching

The deadline for the 2011 One Page Dungeon contest is April 1. Only eight days away and I didn't even think to see when this year's contest was taking place. My submission last year didn't get me any prizes, but I had a lot of fun putting it together and I was planning on entering this year. This is what I get for not paying attention to the calendar I guess.

So it's time to start brainstorming ideas and break out my favorite graphics program. The WotC Dungeon Tiles Mapper is still active so I'll probably use that for laying out the dungeon again. I think the judges prefer hand drawn maps to maps made with that program, but I think the final product looks better with professionally done graphics.

Last year I did something rooted in fantasy. This year I'm going to go for something different. The steampunk world of Warmachine has me leaning that direction, and I played some Mansions of Madness this weekend which has me thinking about the horror genre. Anyone have any opinions? Horror or Steampunk?

Also, submissions are due April 1. There's still time for anyone to put together a submission. There are 42 prizes and only 24 entries at the moment, so plenty of loot to go around!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Focusing In

Oh Cryx, how do I love thee. I'd count the ways but that would be much too long of a post. Instead I'll just count one of the ways. An excellent blog post I came across recently talked about identifying the core competencies in your army. The author touches on identifying the things that your army can do better than another army, and while his post is specifically about tyranids in Warhammer 40K, I think this is one of the most important aspects to list building.

The thing that first drew me to Cryx was the look and the models. This is always my first step when choosing an army, and usually my first purchases are simply things that I think look good together on the table. I think it's an important first step for anyone. If you don't think that pushing a few dozen power armored models around the table is interesting then you probably shouldn't be playing a space marine army. If you like the idea of an enormous lich commanding his undead forces while soul-powered metal behemoths stalk across the field collecting the souls of your enemies, then picking up Terminus, Deathjack and some bane units is probably a good place to go.

Unfortunately, as a game that is based around rules and synergies between units, just picking your favorite models isn't a way to guarantee competitiveness on the battlefield. Usually its just the opposite, and as we play with our favorite models we begin to wish that we could also win with our favorite models. This is where we have to start examining our chosen faction to see what really makes it tick.

One of the core rules of Warmachine is the focus mechanic, and a lot of attention is payed to skillfully managing your focus allocation. Focus is the mechanism by which we ensure that the things we need to get accomplished actually happen, and it's a finite resource. One of the things that Cryx does really well is giving you more focus to play with than your opponent, and it does this in a number of different ways.
  1. Soul Tokens. Probably the most obvious Cryx mechanic, and not something seen in too many places outside of the Dragonfather's forces. Collecting a pile of soul tokens can give you a huge boost in the subsequent turn. It's not just limited to the warcaster's of the faction either. There are a number of warjacks and units that can get in on the soul token action, too, saving them up and spending them just like they would focus.
  2. Focus Efficient Jacks. Focus efficiency on warjacks is something that's talked about a lot. It's a term that's applied when a jack is able to freely perform an action that would normally require focus or when it gets an added benefit to using focus. Jacks that can charge and make power attacks for free are focus efficient. The Cygnar Charge can be focus efficient since it only needs one focus to boost it's ranged attack and damage rolls. For Cryx, we have the Seether and it's big brother, Deathjack. Not only can Seether's run and charge for free, but they generate an additional point of focus to boost or buy more attacks. Deathjack doesn't get the free power attacks, but he generates two focus and can even turn that focus into casting spells for your warcaster.
  3. Skarlocks. Speaking of casting spells for your warcaster, the Skarlock can effectively generate three extra focus for your caster. His spell slave ability also allows casting of spells outside of your caster's activation, just like Deathjack. With the right finnagling you can have the same upkeep spell affect four different units during your turn.
  4. Warwitch Sirens. These little ladies help turn any jack into a focus efficient jack. They're great in the early game for getting a free run move out of your battlegroup. They're great with Harrowers since you generally only need the one focus point to boost your ranged attack roll or buy Thresher. A warwitch can shepherd a harrower around, allowing you to operate well outside of your caster's control range.
  5. Withershadow Combine. In addition to collecting souls, the lich trio gives your caster one free upkeep. Even better when you are running two caster since Admonia can upkeep a spell for each of them. The puppet master ability is also very useful, and could be considered a bonus point of focus itself. Oh, and they have a ranged attack that lets them collect souls.

So how do we put this all together? How about this 35 point list:

  • Witchcoven of Garlghast (+5)
  • Deathjack (12)
  • Reaper(7)
  • Skarlock Thrall (2)
  • 6 Bane Knights (6)
  • Darragh Wrathe(4)
  • Warwitch Siren(2)
  • Warwitch Siren(2)
  • Withershadow Combine(5)

Boasting one of the highest focus stats in the game, the witchcoven have the highest spellcasting potential anywere when they're in a perfect conjuction. With deathjack, the skarlock, warwitches and withershadow you're looking at up to 8 extra focus every turn for a whopping total of 17, not to mention any souls that Deathjack or the combine manage to generate for themselves. The two warwitches might seem like overkill, but the second one is there to add focus to any 'jacks the withershadows might create from victims the reaper drags in.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Work In Progress: Cryx Harrower

Oh mama, this guy is a pain. The entry on Battlecollege warns you, but those fifteen parts are deceiving. Put the legs on wrong and he's staring at the sky. The head doesn't seem to fit snugly anywhere. Better get the arms right or else you end up having to point the claws and weapons at odd angles.

Since the four legs are separate, it's hard to predict at exactly what angle you should place them. I recommend attaching the head on first, as this will give you a good reference for how to arrange the legs so that your harrower ends up looking forward. Legs should come next, and you'll have to be sure to put a pin through the leg attachments to hold everything together. Also, the gun is in two pieces and it's a trick to glue it together so there is a fine gap between the upper and lower portions like is shown in the picture. I recommend sliding a small bit of paper folded in half with a strong crease. That seems to give just about the right gap.

Enough whining though. It's a great looking model and I can't wait to get it painted up. I've got another one in an unopened box and I look forward to putting the lessons I learned with this one into use.

I'd love to post a picture of it assembled, but my camera is being cantankerous. If anyone knows how to get a Canon Powershot S330 to work with Windows7 I'd love to hear about it. Otherwise, $10 card reader here I come!

Update: Turned out to be a $20 card reader, but now I can grab pictures from my camera again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blue Table Painting Scenario

Just recently, Blue Table Painting put up a series of four videos on their YouTube channel chronicling an Ork vs. Blood Angel battle. They're currently in the process of putting together a sort of Warhammer retreat up in the mountains of Utah and the video shows off some of the miniatures and terrain they're going to be using for that.

They were trying out a scenario they are working on for the tournament. I think it has promise but needed massaging. I really do enjoy watching their videos even if they do play a bit fast and loose with the rules. Their studio is a constant source of inspiration to me.

There were four main things that came up in the process of playing the scenario.

  1. There were two objectives in each deployment zone, so each side got two of the objectives right off. This is fine, but they might as well not have played with these objectives. It basically made it a five objective game instead of a nine objective game.
  2. They had problems when some objectives were right next to a wall. Do you count as contesting the objective if you're within three inches but on the other side of the wall?
  3. They ended the game and called it a draw, even though one side had been wiped off the table.
  4. Minimal troops choices for one side led to a house rule that any foot infantry could grab an objective. This ended working out fine for them in this specific instance, but isn't very generic.
Below, I present my set of rules for this scenario. I've also genericized it a bit to make the games slightly more random (d6+3 objectives). I can definitely see them wanting to just peg the objective count to nine when they are running the scenario at the event.

  • Place d6+3 objective markers, each mounted on a 30mm or 50mm base.
  • Each player rolls a d6. Highest die roll decides who places the first objective.
  • Each objective marker must be further than 20 inches from a short table edge.
  • Each objective marker must be further than 8 inches from another objective.
  • Objectives may not be placed in impassable terrain.


  • Determine who goes first as described in the WH40K rulebook.
  • Instead of choosing a long table edge, the winner of the roll chooses a short table edge.
  • Each player's deployment zone extends 15" from their short table edge.


  • You control an objective if you have a troops choice model in base to base contact with one of the objectives.
  • Models who are fleeing, pinned or who are part of units that are engaged in close combat cannot control objectives.
  • Starting on the second turn, at the end of your opponents turn, remove any objectives that you control from the board. You score one victory point for each of these objectives.
    A unit may only control one objective at a time. If models in a unit are touching more than one objective, the controlling player must declare which objective they are controlling after the model comes into base contact with the objective.

Ending the Game.

  • Game ends per the rules in the WH40K rulebook. The winner is the player with the most victory points.
  • Player automatically loses when the last of his models are destroyed.

I think this solves some of the problems they were having, and makes the scenario playable for all comers. Let's go over some of the decisions I made.

  1. Putting the objectives further than 20 inches from the short table edges means each objective is important, not just the five that end up in the center. It keeps objectives from being nabbed by troops on the first turn except perhaps scouts and first turn deep strikers. Simply waiting until the second turn to start getting victory points gives slower armies (or demons) a chance. Keeping them 8 inches away from each other at least gives lip service to forcing players to move once they've taken one objective, although in practice eight inches isn't all that far. I originally wanted to do twelve inches, but the possibility of nine objectives in a 48x32 could have led to some objectives being impossible to place.
  2. The objective markers in the videos were quite large. Specifying base to base contact solves the wall problem. If you want to get your opponent off an objective, you've got to get in there.
  3. Remember kids, if you table your opponent, you automatically win. This is an important rule, even aside from the sense it seems to make. In objective games, especially ones with random turn length, it is very tempting for a player to send a unit on a suicide run to nab or steal an objective. The tabling rule leaves the option open to do this but makes it carry a certain amonut of risk. Just throwing away fast units in order to claim all the objectives early in the game could leave you vulnerable to being tabled by your opponent. If you're going to attempt such a strategy you have to think it through and time it right.
  4. Army composition is part of the game. The Blood Angels player in this game decided to go with an elite and HQ heavy force. This is a perfectly valid option for building an army. It's a gross killing machine full of power and artificer armored death dealing maniacs. It's great in kill points, but for objective games it's at an appropriate disadvantage. Sure, we'd all like to run armies with two scout squads and maxed out terminators with thunderhammers led by Marneus and Pedro Kantor. And you can. But it's going to be an uphill battle to claim objectives. That's why the rulebook only allows troops to claim objectives. Ideally, it leads to more balanced army composition.

Tomorrow is game night, and if Snowmageddon stays away I might have a chance to test this scenario out. Looking forward to it, and special thanks to Blue Table Painting for inspiring this article.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Campaigning 2011

I've started brainstorming a new two-player narrative campaign.

It will be a sort of map-based campaign, using a lightweight system on top of the normal 40K rules to give two players a framework for some narrative. I'm hoping to get a buddy of mine involved. He's got some orcs and chaos that would make great opponents versus my Imperial Guard and Deathwing.

The picture at the right is a rough sketch of the map that the campaign will be based around. I've already got most of the rules made up, just need to get some real graphics down and polish up the rules in my head before giving it a test run.