Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting fluffy again

So last time I got fluffy I think I went a little too far off the deep end and a little too deep into the minutia...

Today I am going to go over the individual components of my army and take a moment to explain a little bit the back story of each unit.

Presently my Chaos army, the Spectrum Host, consists of: the spectrum entourage, Blanche's eyes, and the spectrum heralds

The entourage is Blanche, Dayana, and Mahalia's personal retinue of the cults finest warriors. Each and every warrior is a devout follower of the cult of Queens, and as such has been marked for greatness by Tzeentch.

Leading the entourage is the queens themselves as well as the nameless one, a champion who has been chosen to march at the head of the entourage as the bearer of the cult's icon.

Also, the eve before each procession one of the warriors is chosen to join Mahalia and Dayana in their chambers for the night. The following day this warrior carries the blasted standard to negotiations, this magical icon protects the entire procession at the cost of a little bit of the bearers soul with each impact, this warrior is marked for an eternity of suffering at the side of Slaanesh for the honor of being the chosen bearer of the blasted standard for one day.

The spectrum entourage marches not to war but to negotiation. As the cult grows in power they need bodies for sacrifice and population as well as resources for their ever expanding industries. As such the queens personally lead the entourage to ever more abroad areas in order to negotiation a surrender and the protection of these foreign nations in exchange for resources and slaves. More often than not their offers are less than generous and their negotiations are declined. It is in this situation that the entourage turns to martial means to get what they desire.

Each of the three queens are skilled warriors in their own right:
Blanche is highly skilled in hand to hand combat, she has many magical weapons in her possession and has the magical means to turn a battle in her favor. More often than not she marches to battle geared to protect Dayana with her many magical peices of equipment, but it is not uncommon for her to go with her spells prepared ready to do battle by more magical means.

Blanche is an extremely skilled devout of Tzeentch, she has harnessed two of the great changer's discs and forced them to her will, creating two portals into the warp directly connecting to Tzeentch's realm. It is through these portals, dubbed her "Eye's" that she feeds images of her battle directly to Tzeentch claiming a degree of his attention and demanding gifts and protection for her entourage. If any other god's attention were claimed this way they would most likely strike down Blanche for her hubris, Tzeentch however finds it amusing, and grants Blanche her gifts, for now at least.

Unlike the mother, Dayana and Mahalia have been marked by Slaanesh for their acts of violence and hedonism. They are less concerned with the goals of the cult overall and really are just looking for more toys to play with. Dayana is an extremely accomplished sorceress knowing much of the lores of both Slaanesh and Shadows, Mahalia however is considerably less powerful, she studies the lore of Death and has been granted some minor powers by slaanesh.

The Heralds of the host ride ahead in order to declare the arrival of the entourage, the men are messengers and little more, Blanche relies on them mainly as a distraction, although she leads them to believe that they serve a much greater purpose.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Something a little less Theoreticaltastic

So I haven't gotten so much as a comment on my SvT series, which makes me assume that it's only a subject that interests me... As such Im gonna take a break for a little while..

Anyway there is a 32 player two-day 40k tournament this weekend at the gamers haven and I figured I'd bring my Chaos marines and see how they fare. Gamers Haven is Legion of the damned HQ, and as such I will be bringing a much more balanced and fun list for the tournament. Anyway this is what I'm thinking for this weekend:

Chaos Marines 2000 points:

HQ: 450
Daemon Prince of Nurgle: 175
Wings, Warptime

Daemon Prince of Nurgle: 175
Wings, Warptime

Greater Daemon: 100

TROOPS: 1192
7 Plague marines: 261
-2x Melta, Champion W/ power fist, Personal Icon, Rhino

7 Plague marines: 271
-2x Plasma, Champion W/ power fist, Personal Icon, Rhino

6 Chaos Marines: 140
Champion, Rhino, Flamer, Icon of chaos glory

15 Lesser Daemons: 195

13 Lesser Daemons: 169

13 lesser Daemons: 169

Fast: 255
5 Nurgle bikers: 255
Champion w/ melta bombs, Banner of nurgle, 2x melta

Heavy: 75
Obliterator 75

So what's up with this army?

From the time of the release of the new clanrat kit I have wanted to use clanrats as lesser daemons for my nurgle army. They actually work pretty well, their small size accounts for the loss of survivability compared to a plaguebearer. (I refuse to field a toughness 4 plaguebearer) Also I originally wanted to go with a rat theme for the army. Well after picking up two IoBs worth of Skaven I finally have the models to make it happen.

As such I am fielding as many rats as I can justify, in this case 44. (41 clanrats and 3 rat ogres)

The idea of the army is to get up close in your opponents face with an all out rush turn one. drop the Daemon bomb on the opponent, and pull the marines out to race for objectives as the daemons keep the opponent occupied.

Bikes are there for an emergency champion/ banner/ harassment/ my pure love for nurgle bikers. Not to mention anti-tank, which I am in serious need of with this list (also figured if I'm going with a deep strike themed list, might as well have an obliterator to back things up.

What I'm really going for with this army is the surprise factor. Nothing like going from facing down three rhinos to facing down 60 infantry models all up in your business, I just like the oh shit factor personally.

Realistically this isnt meant to be an entirely competitive list, I'm just going to play and have some fun, I'll let you know how it goes later.

Let me know what you think: Genious? Epic? Epic Fail? WTF unicorn?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Interlude: SvT Pt:2.5: Going at the right time

I don't have time to write a full Soft Vs. Tight article today, I do however have time for an interlude on a rules tool that I find very important: Structured timing windows.

Magic: the gathering Has a very strict order in which player turns are resolved, the turn follows an order something like this

Beginning of turn
Untap Step
Upkeep Step
Draw Step
Precombat Main phase
-Beginning of combat
-Declare attackers
-Declare blockers
-Resolve damage
Postcombat main phase
End step
-Cleanup phase
-end of turn

every action, ability, and spell can be performed at a very specific phase some, like instants can be used at any phase in which you get priority. (most phases) Others, like creatures, enchantments and sorceries can only be used during one of the main phases.

A similar system for 40k and fantasy would clear up the rules a bit and enable new design space for special rules and wargear. I have created a mock up to give you an example of what such a system would look like (Examples of abilities that would occur during each phase are in parenthesis):

Upkeep step:
-Beginning of turn (Eldar Psychic powers)
-Reserves phase (Roll for reserves, decide which models are coming on and the means which they are coming on, roll for table edges etc...)
-Pre-movement action phase (place reserves on the table via preferred means, movement psychic powers)
Movement Step
-Compulsory movement (Spawn movement)
-Primary movement (All regular movement)
-Special movement (Turbo-boosting)
-Movement action phase (psychic powers performed before shooting)
Shooting Step
-Compulsory shooting phase (Termaguants lurking shooting, crazed dreads)
-Primary shooting phase (regular shooting)
-Run phase (running)
-Shooting action phase (Using non shooting psychic powers that occur during shooting phase)
Assault Step
-Charge phase (declare charges, move chargers)
-Countercharge phase
--Compulsory countercharge subphase (perform charge response)
--Primary countercharge subphase (Countercharge USR)
-Pre-initiative combat phase (Banshees attack on charge)
-initiative resolution phase
--Specific initiative resolution (10-1) subphases (regular attacks)
-combat results phase (declare winners of assault, pile in, flee from combat, run down)
-post combat movement phase
-post combat action phase (Tau second jump)

Thats all I have for now join me next time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Soft vs Tight pt.2: Making it tighter

So previously I compared soft rules systems to tight rules systems. I figured today I would go a little bit more in depth and talk about what changes we would see if Wfb/ 40k were to shift more towards this system of rules.

First of all, let's talk about how rules are distributed. Under their current system rulebooks are updated irregularly about 5 or so years apart. These updates are more often than not complete overhauls of the entire game system. One major requirement to these updates is that the rule book needs to be completely backwards compatible with every present army book/ codex. Note that this means the current ruleset that an army is using, not the books released during the previous edition of the rules. This is the primary restricting factor moving forward towards using a tight system.

In order to remedy this problem a few steps need to be taken to ensure that the rules update be smooth and that nobody loses the ability to play their army in the process.

The first step would be to shift away from the present system where each book is more of a large scale pet project for individuals. When you have a different person writing each rulebook/ army book/ codex the rules tend to be inconsistent and you very much rely on the common law rule. (relying on previous rulings to dictate standards for future potential interpretation of the rule) The alternative would be to move into working on the books as an entire cohesive team instead of the individuals.

This would unfortunately cause some undesirable side effects. Using a group writing system individual releases would be expedited, however there would only be one project going at any one time. Under this system the model sculptors would be put under a stricter time constraint and you wouldn't be able to have one or two sculptors working on an entire range. This system would result in more sculptors working on the range at any given time which in turn would result in less uniform models.

Another drawback to this system would be that mould production and manufacturing costs would be front loaded as you would need to order moulds and other manufacturing supplies and have them arrive and produce in a smaller time frame. This would drive up the price of supplying the first wave of models and result in a sharper decline of mould usage over time due to moving on to new projects in clumps as apposed to a steady supply.

(I apologize if the last paragraph came out a little fuzzy, I'm writing this in haste)

To summarize:
A group production effort would result in more cohesive rules that would function better across the entire line of rulesets...
The cost of production would rise (A price change most likely to be passed on to consumers)
The model range will be less uniform.

You might notice that the benefit is outnumbered by the cost. This means that in order for GW to enact this change there will need to be major changes to the companies priorities, they will also need to maintain assets to the appropriate degree over the production period in order to account for the accordion like costs over production periods.

Imagine that GW does decide to take this path. How would the more cohesive team rules writing lead to a tighter rules system?

The answer lies in developing a more common lingo amongst books. For example, the number of USRs would increase in order facilitate this change. Also the wording of rules will need to become more concise and specific. Meaning that specific words will need to have very prescribed meaning across all books. An example of this would be using 'Melee to hit' as a universal way of saying "rolling to hit in close combat" this would have to have a shared meaning across all books without exception. Going further in this example the wording on scything talons would be "A tyranid model with one set of scything talons may re-roll 1s on melee to hit. If the model has two sets of scything talons the model may then re-roll any miss on melee to hit. This more concise vocabulary would undoubtedly clean up the rules system and help avoid corner cases. Of course with any change there will be a drawback. With this new system the rules will have a less organic feel and inevitably there will be phrases that are technically grammatically incorrect in the English language. WotC has excepted this for their rules set and even consider the wording of their rules to be an entirely different language with different grammatical rules.

So how would GW go about putting these changes into effect?

First of all GW would need to update each and every last codex to the new edition prior to it's release. These updates would need to use the common lingo. Of course in a perfect world the codex and ruleset would be released simultaneously in order to prevent lag and open up the potential of each book to work with the new rules.

Anyway that is all I have for today, join me in the final chapter of this series where I will talk about what kind of an effect this rules change would have on the consumer level and how tournaments would be affected.