Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Cancon Players pack is out!

Cancon 2017
January 28th - 29th

Today heralds the release of the Cancon Players pack (Grab it here) which means we are counting down to another huge Epic event. 

At this second there are 24 players signed up and space for another dozen or so, if you are keen to come and haven't registered head over to here and have fun with the signing up process. 

Once the lists are out I'll do my usual predictions thread but my first call is that the podium will be dominated by lists that have at least 13 activations. 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Food for thought - Is 'activation advantage' unbalancing our tournament scene?

Is the activation war bad for our game?

Something I’ve been pondering for a while now, is it time to rejig the Epic tournament system? I’m the sort of gamer who loves competitive gaming, even the sort of guys I tend to play against socially are players who can do the numbers and make solid choices in army design and play. There’s been a fair bit of chatter for a while now amongst my circles about the imbalance inherit between armies which usually focuses on how much more powerful some armies can be built than others. More recently though I noticed a discussion about activation count and how big an advantage that can be in the tournament setting. I got to thinking and having a look over the tourney results for the last year and the pattern of high activation armies doing very well is quite apparent.
      Now let’s be absolutely clear here, I’m no numbers guru, my thoughts come straight from my gut based on many years of competitive gaming across a number of systems. As always take my opinions as just that but I do think it’s a discussion worth having and some potential for reforms exist.
      In the last 12 months of the Aus tournament scene we’ve seen a really clear theme of high activation armies performing extremely well overall. There was a time when 10 would be competitive but these days it just won’t fly. Consider this year’s Cancon Squats (13 activations) took first place and Eldar (14 activations) second. The squats didn’t drop a game and the only game the Eldar lost was against the squats. Now 3rd and 4th place were Vraskian Traitors and Codex Marines with a more reasonable 9 and 10 activations but I’m choosing not to incorporate the vraks because although they were commanded by a great general they fought neither the squats or the Eldar and Marines got beaten by (5-0VC) by the Eldar and 2-1VC by the squats which really just reinforces the main point... In my mind then their final rankings are more a reflection of coming from behind rather than taking on the best as the squats did (fighting all 3 top players from Cancon 2015 in this case). 
        Now the timing of this post is not in any way accidental. With Cancon just around the corner the players are no doubt planning and painting. I have no intention for the pack to be modified at this late point and like all competitive players will instead devote my attentions to how best I can come up with a list that fits the rules as written. But that said I have a prediction, as I mentioned last year’s top 2 were both high activations, this year’s Castle Assault comp top 2 were also high activations (and both orks!) with marines sneaking into 3rd place (again not playing either of the top 2 and 13 battle points behind 1st). My gut tells me that we should expect the same at Cancon 2017. In fact it may be a self-fulfilling prophesy because if you are the sort of player who expects to do well you will probably read a post like this and come to the conclusion that the range of options to beat a high activation army like the ones below is to match them, one or 2 activations below you can probably make up for but much more than that is too much of a disadvantage. So my point is this, I don’t want Cancon 2017 to change, but I want to see if the pattern I consider to be emerging will be proven right by the next big comp. If that is the case then with a trifecta of evidence we would need to seriously ask ourselves if the activation cold war is really what we want or if we should be changing the comp system to make it more equitable.  Now have a quick look at what was in the Top 2 lists from this Year’s Cancon and maybe you can see what I mean.

Thurgrim’s Stronghold Squats (Thurgrims Stronghold 1.5) 
This list was all about firepower and flexibility. It had heaps of guns with lots of range, perfectly suited for smashing small enemy formations and giving it’s owner an amazing advantage in activations by turn 3. It had enough small activations to waste a few doing pointless things at the beginning of the turn if needs be, thunder fires on overwatch, berserkers drive in a circle etc. Backing this up was multiple long range options, double macro from the train, 6BP barrage from the megacannons which could snipe out vulnerable units without leaving the deployment zone. Most opponents simply didn’t have an answer for it, and that’s even before you get to the 30+ battlecannon shots a turn… The list went undefeated, took out the comp and was rated so hideously broken that squats have been banned until they get a full rewrite.

1. Berzerker Brotherhood 1 Hearthguard unit 7 Berzerker units Rhinos
2. Berzerker Brotherhood 1 Hearthguard unit
 5 Berzerker units Rhinos
3. Berzerker Brotherhood 1 Hearthguard unit
 5 Berzerker units Termite Tunnellers
4. Thunderfire 2x Thunderfire
5. Thunderfire 2x Thunderfire
6. Bikers Guild 3x Guild Bike unit  3x Guild trike  Grand Warlord
7. Overlord Overlord Airship
8. Overlord Overlord Airship
9. Overlord Overlord Airship
10. Overlord Overlord Airship
11. Overlord Overlord Airship
12 Goliath
 2x Goliath Mega­Cannon
13. Land Train
 1 Land Train Engine 2x Berserker Battle Car Bomb Battle Car

Biel-Tan Craftworld (v4.2)
The strengths of this list start with the 13 (14) activations that gives it a big advantage in the later turns of the game where it can play out the early few activations as required giving the opponent more time to move into range and setup awesome shots for the falcons. The scorpions and void spinners are brilliant for long range sniping, taking out artillery or small formations like flak batteries etc. 3 sets of the best AA option available mean you can cover the entire army in overlapping fields of flak. Double rangers mean you can protect huge chunks of the army with a scout screen and the gaurdians can throw out some basic support fire but combo beautifully with the Avatar when he turns up. The shining spears are an amazing engage unit, solid armour, double Inspiring, speed and both BC and FF options that can be backed up by guardians and an Avatar.

1. AVATAR [0]
2. ASPECT WARRIOR WARHOST [400] -8 Shining Spear, Exarch, Autarch
3. GUARDIAN WARHOST [200] - Farseer, 4 Guardians, 3 Heavy Weapon Platform, 3 Support Weapon Platforms
4. GUARDIAN WARHOST [200] Farseer, 4 Guardians, 3 Heavy Weapon Platform,3 Support Weapon Platforms
5. GUARDIAN WARHOST [150] Farseer, 6 Guardians, Heavy Weapon Platform
6. RANGER TROUPE [100] 4 Ranger
7. RANGER TROUPE [100] 4 Ranger
8. SWORDS OF VAUL TROUPE [250] 3 Falcon, 2 Fire Storm
9. SWORDS OF VAUL TROUPE [250] 3 Falcon, 2 Fire Storm
10. SWORDS OF VAUL TROUPE [295] 3 Fire Prism, 2 Fire Storm
11. ENGINE OF VAUL TROUPE [250] Scorpion
12. ENGINE OF VAUL TROUPE [250] Scorpion
13. VOID SPINNER [275] Void Spinner
14. VOID SPINNER [275] Void Spinner

Now compare these two builds to another fantastic one from Cancon this year that had everything going for it except the activations.

Space Wolves
1. FENRISIAN WOLVES [150] - 6 Fenrisian Wolves
2. GREAT COMPANY [625] - 6 Grey Hunters - Rhinos, Wolf Lord, 2 Wolf Guard Terminators, 2 Blood Claws, Land Raider Crusader
3. THUNDERBOLT SQUADRON [175] - 2 Thunderbolt Fighter-Bombers
4. WOLF GUARD TERMINATORS [375] - 4 Wolf Guard Terminators, Wolf Priest, Drop Pods
5. LANDING CRAFT [350] - Space Wolves Landing Craft
6. GREAT COMPANY [575] - 6 Grey Hunters,  Wolf Priest,  2 Wolf Guard Terminators, 2 Blood Claws, Rhinos, Hunter
7. STRIKE CRUISER [200] - Space Wolves Strike Cruiser
8. LAND SPEEDERS [200] - 5 Land Speeder
9. LANDING CRAFT [350] -Space Wolves Landing Craft

Now here’s what I know about this one:
     The build is solid – In fact a build that looks very familiar to this took 3rd place at Cancon 2015. The main difference was that in 2015 the build was generic Astartes, so replace generic with much more assault oriented Space Wolves and you have the 2016 version.
·         The player is excellent – He won Cancon 2014 and 2015 without dropping a single game, so his record is unquestioned.
So how did it go, simply put he utterly smashed all but two opponents… guess which ones… which brings me back to the original point about activation advantage. The philosophy of this list is really obvious, hit hard and do so much damage with the first strike they can’t recover. But against the high activation armies above this philosophy just doesn’t work.
     Against the squats the plan went well to start with, a well-placed deep strike of a barge full of  great company took out the BTS train and a chunk of the squat army in the first turn but that’s when the activation advantage took over and despite a full 3 turns playing out all the wolves could do was walk forwards into the teeth of battlecannon barrages looking for something worth killing.
      Against the Eldar the game was far more one sided. Look over that Eldar list and ask yourself what exactly is worth hitting with an alpha strike. There was enough scouts to prevent any deep strikers from hitting anything other than a scout screen and with triple overlapping AA fields no chance of using thunderbolts to break that screen first. Best case scenario then you can use an air assault to bust through the screen and take out one formation… before the rest of them pick you to pieces.  Though actually that’s not what happened, what actually happened was that the lander that attempted that attack took a crit on the way in and the game was essentially over in turn 1… 

Castle Assault 2016
So now fast forward to castle assault in August this year. A smaller comp by far but still hotly contested and look again at the top 2 players. This time it was a 14 activation Feral Ork build followed by a 13 activation standard ork list. Check out the feral ork list:

Feral Orks
WILDBOYZ [350] 2 Nobz, 6 Wildboyz Units, Orkeosaurus, Warlord, Wyrdboy
WILDBOYZ [300] 2 Nobz, 6 Wildboyz Units, Orkeosaurus
WILDBOYZ [300] 2 Nobz, 6 Wildboyz Units, Orkeosaurus
WILDBOYZ [300] 2 Nobz, 6 Wildboyz Units, Orkeosaurus
WILDBOYZ [300] 2 Nobz, 6 Wildboyz Units, Orkeosaurus
WILDBOYZ [200] 2 Nobz, 6 Wildboyz Units, 3 Squig Katapult
WILDBOYZ [200] 2 Nobz, 6 Wildboyz Units, 3 Squig Katapult
BOARBOYZ HORDE [100] 5 Boarboyz
BOARBOYZ HORDE [100] 5 Boarboyz
BOARBOYZ HORDE [100] 5 Boarboyz
BOARBOYZ HORDE [100] 5 Boarboyz
TRAPPAS [150] 6 Wildboyz
STEAM GARGANT [500] 3 Steam Gargant

The strengths again are obvious; it follows the brick shithouse design philosophy where it has heaps of solid assault units and plenty of smaller spam units able to pad out the activation phase allowing excellent positioning of the Orkeosaurus in the end of the turn and optimal firing opportunities for the steam gargant unit. In fact I would say this strategy was essential in every game that I played and gave me a huge advantage over ever army I played except for the other ork build. You can read up on the details of that in my tourney report. I know that the 2nd place orks follow a similar philosophy of padding out the early activations with basic troops to allow for a potentially massive late turn air assault by the lander or something awesome involving a gargant.

The point that I’m making here isn’t that these lists can’t be beaten, there’s absolutely builds that can do it, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens when the Feral Orks take on the Cancon Eldar, and it should be an interesting matchup. The point is simply that the only way to combat such extreme lists really is with other extreme lists. There is no way in my mind that you could build a list using Steel Legion, Black Legion or Codex Astartes for example that would be a fair fight against those Eldar or Savage Orks. Maybe you could pull something off with the newer lists like Emperor’s Children or DKOK but the challenge is to build something with at least 12 activations that has either the flexibility of the Eldar or the resilience of the feral orks. Now this issue can be viewed in two contexts, one being that there is an issue of intrinsic imbalance between armies in the system. That, in my mind, is very apparent and almost unavoidable. But that said it’s also seriously hard to tackle and can be remedied easily enough in a social environment with a few house rules like limits to activations or changing the basic points size that could allow for more variety and flexibility. If all you’ve taken away from this post is that there are awesome builds for you to steal and use you’ve really missed the point. In a comp setting though there is a need for balance as much as possible, final results should be a reflection of player skill not just who can cut/paste the best list possible.
      I’ve played Imperial Assault a fair bit for example and something interesting about last year’s big competitions was that almost every team was literally identical… The World’s Grand Final was played off as a mirror match. I tried to watch it on Youtube and switched off in about 5 minutes because it was so boring… FFG’s response was to bring in new rules and rewrite 3 complete units that were considered so overpowered it led to this unique scenario. Their comps are also always played with 6 different scenarios played out on 3 different maps that rotate 3-4 times a year. This fluidity encourages substantial variety in list builds.
      By contrast Epic armies are largely stagnant, any changes take enormous amounts of time and energy to change and consistency of changes is haphazard at best. We seem to have some list writers who are very conservative in increasing the power of anything whilst others are seemingly unaware of the power and combos that they are unleashing under the guise of new approved lists. As a community trying to change and balance that issue is very challenging and in the short term pretty unrealistic. We need large community with more comps to generate data to get discussions going and at the moment we just aren’t there. Yet we also have an obligation to ensure that our new players can turn up to events and at least have a chance of achieving something, and encouraging stagnation in our system just isn’t going to help that. 
      So while I don’t think that changing the entire system is wise, or even plausible I do think we should be looking at the tournament systems we use to fix what we can do in the short term. Composition scoring systems have been tried in the Aus scene for a while but the general feeling was that they did little to balance the issue regardless so what else can we try. Another balancing factor in many tournament systems is the variety of scenarios which place unique challenges on the armies and force a degree of flexibility. I think this could be something we could start with. Below I’ve included my proposal for a baby step towards improving balance without throwing out the core tournament scenario.

Somewhere down the track I think it would be great if tournaments utilised a range of scenarios to mix things up a bit but finding proper balance is a significant issue that will take time. In the interim I have 2 possible alternatives, one simple, one a little more complex.

Option 1 - Cap the activations - Back in the WHFB 7th Edition time period (AKA the golden age of tournament gaming) new armies started to arise who could produce obscene amounts of magic dice, and suddenly a balance that had been in place for years fell apart. First there came an unwritten rule that said "If I can count your magic dice on 2 hands we can be friends...", soon enough that became a formal rule at competitions and all was right in the world again. I would suggest similar for Epic comps. My magic number is 12 activations max. Most armies hover in the 9-11 range with Titans more in the 7-8 and Marines in the 11-12 range. It's only a short list of armies like those above who can really bust this fomulae and my feeling is that if you limit the potential difference to 2-3 on average rather than the current situation where the difference can be literally double and often is 4-5 you will encourage a wider range of armies being competitive and potentially see a shift towards actually buffing units.

Option 2 - Slightly more complicated but still a potentially effective  short term proposal would be to keep the current scenario but instead of a win being determined by the standard victory conditions I would take it one step further. Maintain the same VC’s, but allocate points to them as illustrated which are added to the normal system points allocated for kills.   
  • Defend the Flag – Each objective you control in your starting half of the board is worth 100 points. Holding all 3 objectives gains an extra 200 points.
  • Take and Hold – Each objective you control in your opponents half of the board is worth 200 point. Holding at least 2/3 objectives gains an extra 400 points.
  • Blitzkrieg – Capturing your opponents Blitzkrieg objective gains 500 points
So the logic here is that much like in the current VC system capturing the enemy objectives are more valuable than the ones in your half.
  • They Shall Not Pass – Divide the table into quarters. Each quarter which contains one of your own unbroken formations and does not include any unbroken enemy formations gains 200 points.
  • Break Their Spirit – Calculate the victory points for the most expensive formation in the opposing army as usual (Under 50% strength/broken etc) any points earned for this formation are doubled.

So a players score would comprise of whatever they killed from the enemy in addition to up to 2800 + BTS (variable) and the difference would then be used to determine a winner and the scale of the victory. The final magin would be determined on a 0-20 point breakdown system starting at a 10-10 draw for a result with a margin of less than say 300points. I don’t have a solid idea yet of what a good margin would be to determine each of the brackets after that but believe it should be an 11/9, 12/8 system with small incremental differences.
The main way I perceive this system helping to balance issues like the activation war is that with points on the map lower activation count armies still have a way to achieve a win. Taking lots of small formations will give you activation advantages but will die more easily than larger ones bleeding points. For example you can have 7 units of sentinels for the same points as a Reaver but you don’t get any points unless you kill the reaver whilst you will get some points for killing units of sentinels… I’m not claiming its perfect but in my mind it at least forces an extra level to the design process beyond just If I have more units I get a huge advantage and win.
      Time will tell I guess if what I’m illustrating here is just a storm in a teacup or an emerging trend. As our game continues to grow though I feel we need to be really conscious about how to move our system forwards rather than just planting our feet and stubbornly maintaining the status quo. As always feel free to agree or disagree, I said at the beginning this is just a gut feeling from a long time gamer but at the very least it’s worth having the discussion.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Coolest thing for Epic since sliced bread....

Yes it exists and yes it's that awesome... 


Since this one is not produced by GW I won't be telling anyone where they can get one but I'm sure we'll be seeing them start to pop up over the coming months! 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Slow grow month 2.... so many excuses.

Oh dear...

Apologies to all of you reading this but this month the slow grow has been the almost no grow month. Or at least the stupidly slow grow perhaps.... some pics below will some up the efforts of some of our painters, Bens awesome looking Tau being the real highlight of the month. Similarly I'm finished with my cultist horde but the rest of the crew have run into real life problems. Their wailing and excuses are only drowned out by their promises of an improvement for the final month. Time will tell...


Dave and Jeff have seriously dragged the chain but to their credit dragging is still progress... 


And to finish off we have Chris whose night lords are looking dead sexy, lightning bolts on 6mm!


Here's hoping for some more success next month!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Game Time - Cadians Vs Baran Siege - Hordeoff

Game Time - Cadians Vs Baran Siege - Hordeoff

Games club Sunday so I thought it might be a good opportunity to test out one of the builds I was thinking for Cancon 2017, Baran Siegemasters. 

Here's my build - 

Incompertus, 3000 POINTS
Baran Siege Masters (NetEA Tournament Pack 2014)

Supreme Commander, 9 Siege Infantry, Thudd Gun Platoon (3 Guns), Sniper unit

Commander, 9 Siege Infantry, Griffon Battery (3 Griffons)

Commander, 9 Siege Infantry

Commander, 9 Siege Infantry

Commander, 9 Siege Infantry

3 Götterdämmerung Howitzers, 3 Bruenhilde

3 Götterdämmerung Howitzers, 3 Bruenhilde

3 Blitzen AA Guns, Gun Emplacements

6 Ragnarok Heavy Tanks

6 Ragnarok Heavy Tanks



6 Siegfried Light Tanks

6 Siegfried Light Tanks

6 Siegfried Light Tanks

Up to 50cm trenches, 50cm razor wire, plus 6 Gun Emplacements.

The basic plan is to hold ground and use the arty and shadowswords to pick off support formations while the troopers, ragnaroks and scout tanks advance forwards to tackle engagements and take ground. 

*note* white paper represents a set of trenches and gun emplacements this game because I forgot mine... not that they get used anyway for the most part.

My opponent today would be John running Cadian's, bringing us to a total of 31 activations on the board today... 

Incompertus, 3000 POINTS
Cadian Shock Troopers (NetEA v1.5 *DEVELOPMENT*)

1 Imperial Guard Supreme Commander unit, 7 Kasrkin units and 1 Leviathan Mobile Command Centre, Sabre Platforms (3 Sabre Platforms), Commissar, Sanctioned Psykers (1 Sanctioned Psyker unit)

1 Imperial Guard Commander unit and 7 Kasrkin units, Sabre Platforms (3 Sabre Platforms)

1 Imperial Guard Commander unit and 7 Kasrkin units

1 Imperial Guard Commander unit and 7 Kasrkin units

1 Imperial Guard Commander unit and 7 Kasrkin units

6 Hellhounds, Commissar



2 Deathstrike Missile Launchers

3 Manticores

3 hydras

6 Cadian Sentinels

6 Cadian Sentinels

6 Cadian Sentinels

One big problem we both encountered was the pure scale of our armies needing every inch of space to deploy, especially with plenty of blast templates in each army. Cadians solved this problem by garrisoning a chunk of their forces into forward positions. Baran solved it by standing on each others shoulders and generally just filling up the whole deployment zone. 

Here the Baran Centre with BTS and Blitz      Here the Baran Left flank with entrenchments

Turn 1
Cadians win initiative.

Manticores fail initiative twice lol
Baran artillery is better trained and manages to fire and kill a deastrike and break them.
Come cadian sentinels advance but this was a background to the shadwosword duel as the baran shadowsword advances to alphastike the cadian equivalent. Baran missed, cadians didn't. Booo

More sentinels came under fire as we both looked for small activations to take out. Baran artillery just wasn't doing the job so far though. 2 hits off 6 models in the sentinel unit just isn't doing the job.

Positioning war continues through the middle of the turn as both sides advance to grab the scattered terrain options.

My shadowsword manages to break its opponent but I was still losing the big war engine duel.

The right flank heated up (literally) towards the end of the turn as the hellhounds doubled up and burned the baran infantry out of the forest (photo). I attempted to respond using a ragnarok tanks and an engage with the scouts but sadly the ragnarok hits all bounced and the scout tanks were overcome by the superior cadian FF values, denying the ragnarok supporting fire. Right flank looking bad.

Hellhounds are rough... 6 kills with flame, 2 with heavy bolters... full unit of Baran gone! 

Rally phase. Everything except for the crispy baran infantry survivors and the cadian deathstrikes rally so turn 2 is going to be huge

Baran Left, Centre and what's left of the right flank

Turn 2
Cadians win again and fire the manticores. They failed to activate again but the sup com got them in line with threats or promises. Probably threats. They make themselves known dropping onto the baran BTS and killing a few but putting 9 blasties down whilst also suppressing all the guns In the central artillery unit.

Cadian shadowsword ends the duel definitively with my shadowsword blowing up spectacularly.

My attempt to revenge myself on the hellhounds ended poorly with the ragnaroks again not managing to kill a single flame tank and the scout tanks being wiped out by 3 hellhounds in FF. The right flank is now basically a write off. Bugger. Let's focus on the centre.

Actually I decide the next side will be the left where I picked off some karskin sitting in  ruins and follow up with a clipping assault with scout tanks... yeah that didn't work so well.

Cadians decide to fight in the centre with hydras prepping the baran infantry in the ruins killing 3 despite the ruins. The surviving infantry put a blast marker on the sentinels behind the statue to make an engagement more tricky for them.

The left flank begins to crumble as first karskin and then sentinels engage and push my baran infantry out of their forward positions. Ragnarok tanks responded by pushing out the sentinels but I couldn't wipe them out because they had a commissar.

In the centre the command leviathan grinds forwards forewards and melts a ragnarok on my left flank. Whilst my scout tanks managed to engage a unit of hydras off the board, truly the stuff of legends. Sadly it wasn't to last as the scout tanks were melted shortly afterwards by those pesky hellhounds who sustained.

The rest of the turn for baran was just trying to clear blast markers accrued earlier, though my artillery did manage to cover the entire hellhound formation with a template and actually kill one!

Cadians are in firm control of all the central objectives

Rally phase - Everything cadian rallied or clear blast markers, with the deathstrikes coming back in time to shoot at nothing useful next turn.

Most of the baran stuff came back too except for a unit of scout tanks but sadly both ragnarok units are engage bait carrying a single blastie each.

Turn 3
Cadians win initiate again... no surprise given they have the plus 1 start rating but it still hurts!

Cadians initiate operation mop up (photo) surrounding the Ragnaroks. And engaging with those damn hellhounds. 10 hits from hellhounds and supporting karskin sees 3 dead ragnaroks and losing combat by 8 sees off the rest of them!

Ragnarock? More like Ragnatissue paper

The left flank will see my ragnaroks attempting to clear some karskin out of the ruins but they lose the engage and roll a double 1 so they are wiped from the board.

The rest of the turn is fairly one sided... manticores rain blast markers down onto the baran HQ. Whilst Baran artillery takes out the manticores in return, morale victory.

Cadian command leviathan continued to roll forward this time engaging the remaining baran infantry contesting the central objective. The rest of the turn goes the same way. Cadians grind slowly forward removing everything baran that is holding an objective leaving the baran largely in their own deployment zone. 3-0 to the cadians who couldn't kill the BTS or take the Blitz.

Overall thoughts - 
Cadians are a solid list but the baran plan just didn't come together.  I knew this would be all about engagement and my theory was that the scout tank formations would be solid engage troops with FF support, it just didn't happen. They tended to melt too quickly before the support ire could make a difference. Being down on WE for that duel was also a big problem and when the cadians kept hitting home and one shotting my shadowswords it just wasn't going to happen, interestingly too the deathstrikes never even got to contribute to that.

For the cadians it was just a slow grind with a clear focus on the important objectives. They garrisoned around key points and never let them go. In the end their superior armour and solid FF options were just too much for the baran to chew through. Those hellhounds were amazing too, I've looked at them myself but never actually used them and I found them really flexible and a solid support unit for the infantry based cadians. I'd consider 2 units but they are still pricey.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Getting started with Epic Armageddon

Getting started with Epic Armageddon

The best way to keep our game alive and kicking is to build our community up and that comes down to all of us, there's no big company pushing for growth with a pile of stores anymore so what's the best way to go about it... here's my suggestion.

Step 1 - Play a game: I can't say I learnt much in my years working for GW but one thing I took away was that if you want to get anyone enthused about your game system the best way to do it is to play. Minigedddon was designed for exactly this, put together a couple of simple armies and run your friend through the basics. Sitting down with the actual rule book can come later, once they've had a couple of minigeddon games under their belt.

Grab the Epic Minigeddon Rules PDF here 

Step 2 - Make the appropriate introductions - one of the big problems with out system is that there is no official face to it anymore, Taccoms can be a pretty unhealthy place to start but there are some great FB groups around you could invite your friend too. It's also important to share contacts for getting minis, if you're serious about the game you no doubt know a range of places to get models both offical sources like onslaught and some of the backyard producers... being told to trawl for stuff on eBay at the ridiculous prices people ask for stuff that is readily available in recast/proxy is not going to enthuse your new friend. Lend them whatever they need to play and see what you can do to hook them up with their first purchase.


Step 3 - Show them the blog - this blog is a great place to go for new players, in the links section they will find some awesome bat reps to read through and see how the game works, in the tactics pages they will find army building advice. There's a page devoted to sourcing all the new models they could ever ask for and another one about sourcing and building tables. So this page is a really excellent source for new players.

Step 4  - Slow Grow! - everyone needs a bit of motivation to get their armies together and painted armies are so much more satisfying to play with and against than unpainted. Painting 6mm however can be a little daunting to begin with. Get together with your mate and encourage them to paint up their stuff with a subtle 1000pts a month challenge and see those minis get some colour.


Step 5 - more games! Maybe even a tournament or a campaign!

The final step is simple, you've got an army together go out and play some games, remember to keep it fun and casual. Quite often we hear complaints from people about how they want to use big formations/Titans but can't win with them because their opponents use hordes of activations and so forth. The simple suggestion is to recognise that this game in many ways isn't balanced, if you want it to be interesting don't always play the tournament scenario, play different points values, play different missions, there's heaps around and they will absolutely improve your gaming time.

Good luck and have fun

Saturday, 5 November 2016

New Terrain Option!

Check out this awesome industrial terrain!

Personally I'm always on the lookout for cool new terrain sources and I got super excited when I saw these ones released today. Perfectly scaled, high quality and damn cheap too IMO. If you are looking for some awesome new buildings to spice up your table go and have a chat to Mike at Battlefield Accessories:

While you are there stock up on some of his slotta bases for epic infantry! 


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Slow Grow - Month 1 Update

Slow Grow - Month 1 Update

So it's been a month of furious painting, time to see how our crew are faring with their projects. 

Player 1 - Steve 'The D6 Addict' Gibb
This month for me was all about Daemons. Well actually that's a lie. I got too excited and finished the entire army... but I did the daemons first so let's just pretend I followed the rules! That said I've been super impressed by the quality and dedication of the guys who've volunteered for slow grow duty. There's more players on this list than in my entire local gaming scene and it's brilliant to see so much energy being poured into our system. It's also amazing to see just how much quality people can produce! I've posted up my first game with LATD as a report last month which was a seriously narrow loss... Back to the drawing board! Cancon is coming! 


Player 2 - Zac 'Shenanigans' Manning

Month 1 Now as I already had all of my 3000 points I didn't need to rush out and buy anything This however does not mean I rushed into painting. The modelling painting aspect of the hobby is by far my least favourite. Over the last 3 Sunday's though I did get into a bit of a groove and churn through some painting. But in typical #zacmanning style everything is 3/4 finished and I have close to 2000 points if not more at this stage.
 I managed to base coat and add details and washes to all of my wraiths and tanks. I just need to add gem colours and touch ups and they are finished. Basing however will be a while as I am waiting materials to come in stock so I can purchase. I will be going for a light grey weathers cobblestone look which should match well with the Orange and Blue.
 Now as for game play I managed two games of 3000 point proxy hammer with my list. I managed a resounding loss against John and his baron siege horde and a very close win (basically draw) against Steve and his lost and dammed (renamed to lost and dammit why can't I activate a unit) I have a lot to learn with using this army and many more games are required to gain basic mastery of the list. I am ready for the challenge and the ridicule of playing the pointy ear gits

Player 3 - John 'Girl Power' Hammond



So one month down and though I've completed my first 1k, I've not yet been able to have a game with them. Hopefully I should be able to fix that issue in the coming weeks

This month I plan to try and bulk out the army with a bit of fast moving fire support in the form of 6 immolators and increase my Penitent engine up to a formation of 6. At 2k points it's also high time to bring in the Supreme Commander so i'll be adding another full Mission formation for her to roll around in.

Aircraft and teleporters now also become an issue so I'll be introducing a formation of Lightnings and a single hunter to bump up the Exorcist unit. Dominion scouts will also be making an appearance to deter any first turn teleportation shenanigans.

Still I'm worried about how this army is going to deal with any decent amount of RA armies or titans, there's just not a lot of options in the list to deal with these threats and though it's a FF based army - also no real decent delivery system besides weathering the storm as we cross the board in our rhinos.

This should bring my Current 2k list to look like:

Mission 275
8 Battle Sister stands + Rhinos

Mission 375
8 Battle Sister stands + Supreme Commander + Rhinos

Exorcism 300
5 Exorcist Tanks + Hunter

Repentance 275
6 Repentia Sister Stands + Rhinos
Priest {50}

Penitence 245
6 Penitent Engine

Lightning 150
2 Lightning Strike Fighter aircraft

Purgeance 250
6x Immolators

Dominion (Scout) 200
4 Dominion Stands + Rhinos

Plans are also in the works to finish off my second objective marker (It's looking a bit bland with just the statue) and the addition of another larger marker for my Blitz.

Wish me luck

Player 4 - Ben 'I'm not a communist I just like red' Tranter


I hang my head in shame that I'm behind a little on my slow grow painting. Ended up disliking my first color scheme and having to strip and redo. Really loving the new concept of red, brass and desert bases. I'm at least able to offer for you guys photos of one completed test model from each type

Game wise I did get a 1000pt minigeddon match in against Adam's Eldar. It made me realize just how much of a beast the core admech formations are. 8 Skitarri + 2 terminators + 10 Chimedons is an awful lot of 5+ bodies to throw into a firefight. I'd even trust them up against most of the 40k core formations out there. 

Player 5: Colm "no nickname" Kiely

As you can see in the pictures, I plan to give each Knight his/her own heraldry, unified by a deep blue main colour and bare adamantine body. That is currently flat mithril silver, but it will get a generous black wash/quickshade to dull it down and make it look less clean, as well as bring out the detail.

The color scheme is based on very similar color choices on my warhound and thunderbolts in my Codex Space Marine army, so I'm confident it will look OK in the end. I need to buy a brighter yellow paint for the heraldry and lava, what I have used will be way too dull under the quickshade.

Despite the rocky start I am fairly happy with how the painting is going - I will get a nice contrast to help my Knights stand out from their bases, which in 6mm scale is really important.

Player 6: Jeff "what's a blurb? Thomson

This is a Regimental HQ with Commissar, and 3 Baneblades (one with black markings which can be used to represent the Commissar tank). These guyswere a bit rushed, and if I have time I may go back and add symbols to the Commissar Baneblade, markings to the army designation stripes (not visible in this pic) and an aerial to one Chimera (to represent the SC's Chimera).
Next month I'll be working on an Infantry Platoon, 3 Shadowswords and 3 Manticores. There's a reasonable chance I won't manage to find the time during this month, but we'll see.

Player 7 Dave "Fruitbat" Dingelstad

When I started assembling the Guard, I decided I wanted to go with something a bit different for painting from the standard Steel Legion look. Many years ago I had worked on a tank company army for 40K, using a “plasma storm” camo pattern. Unfortunately, that was two, if not three iterations of the GW paint range ago. I’d also sold off almost all the army over the years, and copies of the reference material I’d printed was long gone (as was the IG camo reference from the old GW site). All I had left was one unfinished Russ… Unwilling to take the sensible option, I dug through the paint box and managed to unearth a few pots of “near enough”, and “pretty sure this was it”. I savaged an old brush to make an Epic scale stippling tool for the plasma bursts, and I was off. Just not very quickly. Unfortunately, my chosen 1000 points is sadly lacking in detail work (and the infantry looks suspiciously like black undercoat). So I’ve got a bit of extra work ahead of me this month to complete the next 1000 before coming back to bring this lot up to speed. Not surprisingly, they haven’t had time to take to the field for some slow-grow gaming either. Maybe next month?

Player 8 Chris - "Fake Nightlords" Smith

Month 1 is done, I didn’t quite make it as I have 1 flyer left to do, just a bit more for month 2.
But I enjoyed painting Night Lords and I am happy with how the lightning showed up, I did manage 2 minigeddon games, one against Adam which was a loss and one against Kendall which ended up in a win.

Player 9 Ben "Genuine Fluffbunny" Spaulding

Well at least it's still better than Zac Manning!

Player 10 - Ben "I need a reason to paint" Wadswoorth

Tau are looking happier this month, a few new additions, a few more coats of white, and rails & exhausts powering up. Still a couple layers of highlights and basing to go, but happy so far

Player 11 - Daniel "Needs a head Start" Schmidt

So month 1 is over. I am woefully behind schedule, thanks to a mixture of work commitments. None-the-less, I got a bit done and am happy with what I have painted, so I'll post up the WIPs of the models that are underway.


Player 12 - Kendall "The Colombian Kingpin" Williams



1 month down and too many hours!
This first thousand have been a learning experience.
The Painting -
As you can see, the primary colour for this army is a bright orange. The lion share of the models were sprayed with Vallego model air Orange over their grey base coat - a couple coats were required. A quick wash and a highlight finished it up.
Their jump suits are stone gray with skull white highlight.
Finally the weapons were painted jade and highlighted.

The stealers and Lictors are reflection of their 2nd ed colours, unfortunately blending into their bases, but I figure if anyone had a camoflage it would be the nids who've infiltrated the hive world.
Finally the bases were base coated midnight blue with a couple highlights of severly watered down Troll Blood Flesh. A final edge highlight and a quick wash of black washalong the cracks and hey presto - a month of my life!
Gaming -
I've gotten a few games in so far with little success.
Though I've outnumbered/out activated my opponents, my army has far less resilience.
A little disappointing, but I reckon they'll be golden with their next month of additions.
November's Build -

I'll be adding a formation of baneblades, 2 formations of brood brothers and some hydra tanks