Thursday, September 30, 2010

Soft Vs Tight Pt.1

So this is something I've been meaning to write about for the longest time but haven't gotten around to doing it until today. I've got an hour to blow in the computer lab and no pics to show or codexi to reference so I have no choice but to just jump into it.

The topic is of course tight rules systems vs. soft rules systems.

So for those not in the know, I have some vocabulary for you: (Since this is my blog I'm using my definition so deal with it)

Vocab
Soft rules system: A soft rules system is one in which there is always a little interpretation involved. The rules writers don't go through the trouble of tying up every loose end and possible interpretation of the rule. This system works well for miniature games such as Warhammer40k because it allows modelers a bit of freedom to work with. When you models do not have to have specific parameters in order to be tournament legal you have a bit more freedom in how you want to represent your army.

Tight rules system: A tight rules system is very hard and fast and leaves next to no room for interpretation. Every corner case has an answer and there is no such thing as 'rolling for it' or other means for determining who is right when rules dispute eventually occurs. This kind of rules system requires much more maintenance and the occasional errata in order to keep working but ultimately is better suited for games designed for tournament play. With a tight rules system someone is always right in a dispute and you never walk away feeling cheated because your interpretation of the rules was deemed wrong by the hand of fate.

The errata problem
One thing I see a lot of amongst the separate gaming communities is a misunderstanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each individual system. Often I see people cite that old magic cards often need errata because of the tight rules system and the frequency in which it is updated. This is slightly true but not entirely. Only twice in the history of Magic: The Gathering has there been a need for mass errata to older cards. First for the 6th edition rules update (When M:tG went from a soft rules system to a tight one) and once again (to a much smaller scale mind you) for the 2010 rules update (which strangely enough happened in '09).

There have been many other minor changes to cards throughout magic's history, but that is only due to shifts in design philosophy within Wizards of the Coast.

The primary reason for these changes, though, is that Wizards has deemed that no card will ever become completely unusable and that all cards will always be able to be played. If a tight rules system were applied to a rotating system (as apposed to the static one that M:tG has in place) then this problem would be much less of an issue.

FAQS
Another problem we see in the two rules systems is a need for FAQs. It is often the case that questions will arise when certain rules clash. In a soft rules system, often there won't be an easily discernible answer and players will then be at the mercy of the TO as to the proper interpretation of the rule until an official FAQ is released clearing up the question. Tight rules systems also often need FAQs, although it is more often the case that the correct answer is available to the public via the rule book and ultimately can be determined with a jaunt through the rules. In this case FAQs are provided to expedite rules arguments and prevent players from needing to parse through a 600 page rules document.

Unfortunately that is all the time I have for today, join me next time when I look further into this topic. And of course comments are always encouraged, in fact I demand them. Feed the unicorn, she needs mental sustenance.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's all coming together

A while back I posted that I was setting myself on a a strict (for me) painting regime. It was a simple plan, one rank a week. Well you know what? I failed, miserably. Since setting myself on the goal I have painted a grand total of... No models. Apparently, taking business law is not conducive to miniature painting. But all is not lost! For despite my sheer laziness, progress is still being made (just not by me)

My basement as become a wasteland of half empty sprues and partially built army as Deanna's (my girlfriend) Daemon army, and Andy (My boyfriend) brings together his Beastmen herd.

They both got paid friday and decided to go shopping while I was sleeping. I wake up to see a Beastmen battleforce, 20 bestigors, two beastmen characters (don't know much about the army he says they are the dark omen and the one eye) in Andy's portion of the table. Meanwhile Deanna is working away on a second box of Daemonettes, two boxes of bloodcrushers, a box of horrors complete with changeling. Her fateweaver sits untouched as she complains that for some reason our glue isn't working, she has to hold the model forever to get anything to stick and when it finally does it glues to her finger and when she sets it down she just tears the part right off...

Ahh fledgling modelers, how amusing.

Apparently she also has Skulltaker on order as well.

I did end up wasting my weekend at Magic tournaments, winning the midnight pre-release at T&M cards, and placing in the top 10 at the much much bigger full-day prerelease at Gamer's Haven (Prizes only paid down to 8th unfortunately.)

So at least there is progress somewhere.

Also, a quick note because I find it amusing: My economics class is skate. I swear anyone who plays any MMO with any kind of regularity could pass ECON 100. And wargames help too, what with opportunity cost and the like.

So now I can play WoW or 40k and claim to be studying.

Take that people who think video games rot your brains!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bad Karma and busy schedule

Apparently I have failed once again. When I signed up for the classes I am taking this semester, it didn't really dawn on me how much work they were gonna entail. I mean seriously, who would think that business law was going to be a heavy load class? Much less accounting and economics.

Add that to my work schedule and the fact that at any given point the most sleep I can get in a stretch is 4 hours... And you have a recipe for a very tired Jenn who is very burnt out and has no time for painting, and no inclination to spend any more time on the computer then she has to.

But alas there is a silver lining! Apparently there are these things called weekends where you don't have to actually do anything that day... Unfortunately I don't get those. What I do get is two days a week where I don't have school but still work and 2 days a week where I don't have work but still have school.

It is on those days that I can actually bring myself to get on the computer and type out some stuff that maybe if I'm lucky 13 people (at current count) will read. I will hope that I get comments, be slightly disappointed that I don't then go back to school where I get to enjoy being stared at all day by the majority of the people I walk by. (I like to pretend they stare at me cause I'm hot, not because I am very obviously a unicorn with NES print backpack and all... the two very prominent hickeys that my boyfriend and girlfriend decided to give me simultaneously doesn't help either... Woe is me.)

But you did not come here to hear me (read me) complain about school. You came to hear about some 40k/WFB goodness... and some of that I have.

First of all, I picked up a 1500 pt Skaven army at my local gamers haven for only about $90. That was pretty cool. I am very happy that the IoB comes with ~750 points and can be quite a bit more too. So now I have a for fun army that I will be using to teach my boyfriend and girlfriend how to play fantasy with. While we were there my boyfriend picked up a beastmen battleforce, two boxes of bestigors, and the beastmen army book. My girlfriend got her first box of daemonettes and inherited my old chaos daemons army book. The seeds have been planted.

I plan at some point to teach them both how to play tonight, playing a 500 point game my skaven vs his beastmen. Should be interesting.

Btw in case your confused: I am currently in a poly amorous relationship with both a boyfriend and a girlfriend. It's like getting the best of both worlds. Yes they know about eachother, yes we are all nerds. She comes from a background of RTS games and Magic cards. He comes from a background of MMOs and D&D. There's not a doubt in my mind she will one day achieve the rank of unicorn, as she does have all the prerequisites.

In 40k news I brought my Chaos marines to the merlyns tournament and had a lot of fun... I did not however, do very well.

Round one I played against the always awesome Jason and his guard blob list.

The mission was annhilation with dawn of war and Large blast template vortex grenade that will not dissipate.

That's right, once you throw it that baby will be floating across the table all game wreaking havoc.

I got the turn one assault lashing one of his blobs into my Khorne berserkers and Chaos lord, I was just out of range to get the prince in as well though. The assault went as planned and I wiped out upwards of 20 models to his... one. I have learned to hate commisars with an undying hatred this game. Stubborn guardsmen are a pain. it took the remaining three turns to finish the squad and I ended up having to reinforce the assault with a unit of plague marines.

He lit my army up a little bit with his twin basilisks and manticore... but through creative use of cover I took minimal casualties.

Turn two My nurgle bikers shot forward and dropped the vortex grenade right on top of his command squad, killing 7 of his guys outright.

This is where I accrued enough bad Karma to officially screw myself for the remainder of the tournament.

I then proceeded to LASH his huge as blob of 40 into the grenade... That is about the cheesiest thing I could possibly think of. Of course fate agreed with me and nerfed my roll to only 4, only killing 6 guardsmen of the blob.

dissapointed I then assaulted the blob with my prince and plague marines, while my bikes assaulted straken & Co.

I put straken down to one wound and finished off the rest of his unit before he did some awesome rolling and took out all of my bikes. I wiped out most of the guardsmen and he made up for my bad luck by failing is stubborn test twice and running for it, my prince cleaned up afterwords.

Turn 2 ended with just his tanks and mortar team on the table with two minimized squads of his in reserves. I am pretty much almost completely at full strength (minus the bikes).

Thats when the grenade decided it didn't like me. It proceeded to eat my army and I eventually get tabled as anything I had that got close to the tanks gets sucked up.

The remaining of the tournament involved lots of paying for my bad karma and losing horribly to Space wolves and guard.

Anyway I've overstayed my welcome in the school computer lab, expect more from me... eventually.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The road to Vegas

That's it. I've become quite determined that I am going to win Gamecon and go to vegas. I've been doing my best to really step up my game and I am actually painting models on a schedule for once

Right now my ideal time frame will be 1 rank (5 models) a week. That may not seem like much but when every cloak takes 4 hours... and every model in your army has said cloak... That's going to be a lot for me. Also, I will be going back to school fresh from academic suspension (I swear I will pass English one day!) so I will be putting a lot of focus on my studies. I do however have an hour between two of my classes that I will be stuck at the school... Maybe I will be able to get some painting done during that time.

My goal begins today. I've got 3 models painted for the first rank of my warriors squad and I have until Sunday to finish the other two. I am going to put a bit more focus on the front rank as every single model is a character and I want to make sure I put my best work forward.

Also, this upcoming sunday I have a 1500 pt 40k tournament. Word is getting spread around that the TO would like us to bring our most abusive lists and that this will be an 'ard boys style tournament.

I'm thinking I'm going to bring my Chaos Marines for this go around here's the list I have in mind:

HQ: 275
Lash Prince w/ wings: 145

Chaos Lord: 130
-Mark of Khorne, Pair of lightning claws

Troops: 801
8 Plague Marines: 279
-Champ w/ pfist, 2x melta, Rhino

7 Plague Marines: 266
-Champ w/ pfist, 2x Plasma, Rhino

9 Khorne Berserkers: 189

Fast: 255
5 Chaos bikers:
-2 Melta guns, Nurgle banner, Champ w/ M-bombs

Heavy:245
Land Raider: 235
-Extra armor

It's a pretty straight forward list, although I would have preferred to change the plasma guns in the second plague marines to melta. Basic in your face Chaos using the LR to deliver berserkers and Lord to the front lines with the plague marines going where they need to do what they do. The nurgle bikers are the distraction/ anvil unit running up front and drawing attention to themselves (And hopefully taking down a tank) while the rest of the army gets in position. Prince is of couse in there for the fluff, it's not like he's very good at board control or anything.

Note: Yes I do know lash princes have fallen out of favor, I actually quite enjoy playing with them however and they are still pretty good at what they do.

Also keep in mind that the Merlyn's metagame is very Nid heavy and more often than not I end up playing at table one against Jason's blob Guard. So prince is still very much an effective unit.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Looking for an ego shot

So I've yet to lose a game with my warriors of chaos list. Yesterday it was pretty close though. I asked the local fantasy guru to build the hardest list he could and gave him full access to my list in order to allow him to beat me down the best he could. I need to be able to find my armies weaknesses so I can shore them up. Anyway I played with a little bit of an experimental list. It is as follows:
2k Points

Lords: 400
lvl 4 Sorceress lord: 400
Skull of Katam, terrifying mask of EEE!, Diabolic splendour, Necrotic phylactery, Dragon helm

Heroes: 500
Battle standard bearer: 230Doom totem, soporific musk

lvl 2 sorceress of death:145
Power familiar

lvl 2 sorceress of death:135
Spell familiar
Core: 800
28 Chaos warriors with shields: 510
-Mark of Tzeentch, blasted standard, champion

15 Marauder horsemen W/ flails, javelins, light armour: 290
-Mark of Tzeentch, full command
Rare: 300
2x Tzeentch warshrines: 150 ea

I didn't think to copy his list down but he brought a very anti-magic heavy dwarf list with 2 special bolt throwers of some variety, a regular bolt thrower, an organ gun, and a cannon. There was a small block of some form of scouts that deployed behind my army and a big block of some form of baddassery holding his character that was nullifying my magic (kept stealing one of my dice a turn and had 2 dispel items and other cool goodies) as well as a block of hand gunners chilling next to his death star.

Mission was the one that is played long ways and terrain was sparse, he's a quick mock up of deployment:
I want to start by pointing out that I really need to work on practicing using my marauders well. I deployed them wrong and took a goofy unit size.

Anyway Chris went first and proceeded to light up the top shrine with his stealthy shooty unit and his cannon and a bolt thrower. Miraculously he was able to do two wounds to it (only because of the bolt thrower's D3 wounds rule. the other two bolt throwers killed enough horsemen to force a panic test and they fled off the table turn one (He used the far bolt throwers causing them to flee right off the edge.

The next 5 turns were painful as i slowly made my way across the long battlefield being shot to pieces. Turn 2 my warshrine assaulted the organ gunner and had it flee (Killing it). Turn 4 He successfully downed the top warshrine with tons and tons of war machine shooting and ended up killing 17 warriors by the time I made it to him. I ended up failing the first two charge attempts with my big block. (Thanks to the item that slows your charges) He dispelled all of my spells except three. One was just a leadership lowering spell (which he proceeded to dispel during his next magic phase), the other two were pit of Shades, the first one I got off to take out the cannon turn 4 the second to take out 13 of whatever his big block was turn 5.

Finally turn 6 I got the charge on his bolt thrower and hand gunners. and blew them off the table (The warriors had +1 Sv and +1 A from the shrines)

The game ended in a draw with him scoring 340 victory points to the 335 I scored. If the game had gone longer my warriors would have charged into his big block and desroyed it while my shrine went in for the flank/ rear.

Long story short, I have finally not won a game with my list, I was playing a scenario that was very bad for my army, against a foe that was prepared for most of what I had brought to the table. It was fun for me and I look forward to finally getting a whole piece of humble pie and not just a little taste.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jenn is a twisted fluffy bunny

So I was struck by inspiration (read finally got off my ass and painted something) today and I figured I would share it with you all. I've been spending a bit of time coming up for a backstory for my warriors of Chaos and this is the first installment into the fluff.

Reminder: I failed english 101... Twice... My writing skills aren't amazing so if bad storytelling is a turn off for you feel free to skip this one.

Anyway I would like to introduce my Army General: Dayana, The Queen of Terror.

(Yes I know, bad photoshopping and all I'm too lazy to do a really good job.)

Ruleswise Dayana is a lvl 4 sorceror lord of shadow with the blood of Tzeentch and Terrifying mask of EEE! (best named piece of equipment ever... other than the other tricksters shard that is)

Now for a little fluff...

In the seas off the northern coast of Naggaroth there is an island inhabited by a small chaos cult. The cult consists of the followers of the three queens of change. The most revered of the queens is Dayana, Queen of Terror. Unlike the other queens, Dayana was not born by a traditional pregnancy. Her birth was the result of a terrible ritual in which the greatest warrior of the tribe was flayed alive and kept alive and conscious magically for two weeks remaining. on the 13th day the winds of magic shifted ending the warrior's life and beginning Dayana's. She was born precisely at the peak of the shadow time (In the north there is a brief approximately month long period where the sun stays below the horizon) and for the first weeks of her life she knew nothing but shadows and darkness. Since her birth she has had an affinity for darkness and shadow magic. Growing up the other tribesmen feared her for she marked a change in the political structure of the tribe. Shortly after her birth, Blanche, the priestess who performed the ritual took power and became the new leader and queen of the tribe. Blanche raised Dayana as an overprotective mother figure, kiling all who displeased Dayana and setting their homes on fire. As time went on the tribe slowly came to refer to the queen as the queen of destruction and the princess as the little terror. Upon dawn of her 21st year Dayana was declared by Blanche to be the second queen of the evermore populous tribe. Eventually through magic and various brainwashing techniques, Blanche and Dayana became loved by the entire tribe from then forward being known as the cult of the Queens. Dayana, touched by slaanesh in her teens, grew to have a fetish for inflicting pain. It wasn't uncommon for her to select the most beautiful members of her cult (male and female) and force them to become her slaves. She took pleasure in binding her chosen and torturing them while she pleasured them. One day, during her 26th year of life she chose a beautiful girl of the age of 17 to be her next toy. Unlike her other chosen this girl, by the name of Mahalia, accepted her fate and did not struggle or even let out a cry as Dayana tortured her. Finally Dayana grew bored and left the girl for days tied up in her dungeon. Forgetting the girl Dayana proceeded to chose a young man next for her games. As she took him into her dungeon she realized that the girl had somehow escaped. Figuring she had fled Dayana proceeded with the fun until out of no where Mahalia appeared with a Knife, slitting the young man's throat and proceeding to overpower Dayana, binding and proceeding to torture her. As Dayana felt true pain for the first time she realized that the act of inflicting pain was not nearly as pleasure filling as the act of receiving it. As she cried for more she began to appreciate the beauty that Mahalia held. Finally Mahalia relented and Dayana declared her love for the young girl. Stricken by the turn events Mahalia agreed to free Dayana in exchange for Dayana staying Blanche's wrath. (Surely Blanche would have destroyed the young girl for what she had done to Dayana) As time went on the two women became twisted lovers and proceeded to marry. Blanche, seeing Dayana's love for Mahalia allowed Mahalia to become the third and final queen of the cult. As time went on Mahalia became to be known as the Queen of Pain, taking up Dayana's role as the torturemaster.

Anyway that is it for now... I hope you all enjoyed this look into my twisted little imagination world, I'll be posting more as I get more models painted up.

Oh and just cause I feel like posting the pics here are some finished shots of Dayana: (Yes I'll leave the corny photoshopping out...)







I apologize for the blurry pictures, My camera is my phone and that's the best I can afford right now, it actually takes better pictures in the hands of someone who's life isn't sustained only by caffeine (Read: Shakes a lot)