Monday, June 25, 2012

Sick of Sixth! And it ain't even out yet!

Yes, I'm already sick to death of sixth edition Warhammer 40,000, and it hasn't even been released yet!  That's because so many bloggers have been running all these 6th-related posts, most of which are later shown to be baseless because SIXTH EDITION ISN'T OUT YET.  It's funny how our little hobby blogosphere so closely resembles the greater media circus: everyone is so eager to be the first to run with a bandwagon story that they take whatever little snippet of rumor the hear through the bathroom stall and yell out to the sky.  The result is months and months of baseless blogging, most of which is soon proved wrong.

Actually, it isn't PROVED wrong, cuz 6th ain't out yet.

I know many people are excited about the coming rules revision and therefore want to read and run with everything that comes down the pike.  "What if this is true, wouldn't that be exciting/disappointing?"  "I heard it was like this and here's the skinny!"  Etc.  But please, for the love of the Emperor, wait just a few more days and then run THE ACTUAL FACTS.  Is that so difficult?  Patience, fellow geeks, please.  Just wait a little longer...

I hope no one is offended by my opinion here.  If you've run spot after spot on the prototypic, not-yet-confirmed 6th ed rules I'm not trying to single you out as somehow being a bad person.  I'm just saying, we're close enough to find out what the REAL deal is.  Can't you showcase some of your models or give us a cool battle report in the meanwhile?

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HEAVY HANDED: Homemade ThunderFire Cannon!!!

My “Heavy Handed” series is going to feature some heavy hitters for my Crimson Fist army.  First up: my Homemade TFC! 

I wanted the incredible firepower this contraption spits out (4 blast markers per turn) but didn’t really want to spend the money on the very expensive and bulky GW model.  So I started figuring out how to make my own.  I had access to lots of syringes (though not a drug addict), so, as roughly illustrated below, I used a large syringe, sawed out the middle, sanded down the inner edges, and glued the ends back together, making the primary piece of my cannon.  I then glued vehicle kit bits on to give it more character.  The quadruple barrels are just drinking straws painted black with silver edges.  For the track I used (you guessed it) epic-scale landraiders!  Bought a handful of them for cheap on ebay.  These I stuck together using paperclip clippings.  The rocker in the middle is a turn-screw bit from my old desk (the one my then-girlfriend now-wife sat on when it was up on its side in a storage module, breaking it to smitherines – she’s not big, I swear, it was just a cheap desk).  So for literally a few bucks I had myself a very workable and decent looking engine of destruction!

The cannon I really haven’t used that much, but when I have...  Oh boy.  It rains death down on the foe with FOUR small blast templates a turn and has three ammo modes.  Surface detonation: S6 AP5;  Airburst detonation: S5 AP6, ignores cover saves; or Subterranean blast S4 AP- with a tremor effect that inflicts difficult and dangerous movement on the target’s next move turn.  It’s great against clusters of troops.  I use the AP value to my advantage, or if their cover save would be better, use the airburst version.  At S5 or S6 you can count on wounding most of the time.  Against vehicles or a target you figure you just can’t hurt, try the tremor effect and let them hurt themselves on their next move.  I’ve used it on Space Wolves, preferring the S6 hit to give me more wounds, thus playing the odds against his 3+ saves.  Against Dark Eldar wyches I used the airburst, the AP 6 enough to cut their wychsuits and ignoring their cover saves, leaving those wounded on 2+ with no choice but to die.  I think I did use the tremor against a chaos predator before but it just sat in the back on the board edge and fired its guns (which is why I sent in my assault marines, who bounced along the armored column destroying tank after tank with grenades).  

The Tech Marine comes with a full harness (hell of a bargain at 100pts for the whole package), which I tried to somewhat represent with the addition of another servoarm-drilly-bit (and hope those I play with don't get offended cuz it ain't the official 4-armed harness).  I painted his armor lighter blue washed with darker blue to stand out as artificer armor.  His head is appropriately bionic and his big hand (can’t really equip with a power fist) fits well as a Crimson Fist icon.

I call these pictures my “Dr. Doom” shots—he just looks like an evil plotting supervillain from this angle. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Okay, ONE more...

Have to toot my own horn while I can:

(Cuz once the 3 winners are announced my moment may have passed...)

Monday, June 18, 2012

ONE MORE on this topic...

Okay, this whole Writers of the Future incident has taken only 36 hours and in my view went from fireworks to pitchforks and torches to inviting me to sit around the campfire to toast marshmallows. I have apparently stumbled into a friendly village that I never knew existed, though maybe my clumsy bumbling into town startled some folks.  Everything is cool now.

Have a marshmallow.  I hope you like them burnt.  

Confession of a SuperVillain

Okay, I feel bad.  Apparently I did a bad thing.

I was astonished to discover how popular my previous blog entry was, especially since this is primarily a Warhammer crowd that sees this blog, and not very many of them.  And especially since the posting had to do with a very personal pat on the back that I honestly didn't think anyone give a crap about but me, but since it was *my* blog I figured, Why not use it to pat myself?  So I did, assuming that most who might peruse through my pages would see it and say, Who cares, this isn't why I look at this blog.

So thanks to blogspot's stats system, i was able to see where most of my hits were coming from.  Tracing one source back to the Writers of the Future forum, I browsed the recent postings and found a wanted poster hanging up with my name on it.  Well, not quite, but it was a link to my humble little blog kinda saying, Here's the culpret, go see the $#!^ he's posting!   This was apparently followed by a link on Facebook, which led an angry mob to my door with pitchforks and torches.

Not that I've gotten any death threats or anything, but i definitely seem to have incited a riot.  I have posted an apology for any unintentional wrong doing on the forum.  I hope those folks get that.

My next blog entry will be about Warhammer 40k again.  Not that this isn't *my* blog and that the writing aspect of my life isn't more important to me than the wargame hobbyist aspect, and not that I can't post whatever is important to *me* on my own blog, but just to let the flames die down a bit and let the cool, anonymous serenity that was settle back into my small, quiet, dewy little cyber-meadow.

(Hey, that ain't no supervillain talk!  Shoot someone!)

Shut-up, you.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Finally, Non-Rejection!

(taken from contest website)

I got a surprising phone call yesterday from an administrator for the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest.  It's a SF/Fantasy short story contest that's been going on for over 20 years and has been a great avenue for introducing new writers to the world and giving them the toe in the door they've needed to hopefully, eventually get their whole damn foot into the publishing biz at large.  I think I've sent four stories in over the years.  For one I received a letter saying my story had made it to the semi-finals, which was encouraging.  This time I got a PHONE CALL (which after the letter seems so much bigger and more personal) from a very nice woman telling me my story has made it into the top eight for the quarter.  When I asked how may entries there were, she said, "Oh, thousands."  THAT is a good feeling!  Anyone who writes and gets pretty much no where (and even those who are now famous) can tell you that there is a LOT of rejection on the writers' road and to finally get a somewhere is a great encouragement.  Now these final 8 stories go on to another round of judging and 3 will be picked as the winners.  Even if my humble little tale doesn't win that final honor, it's nice to know someone somewhere enjoyed it enough to send it that far.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

PROMETHEUS: Burns His Fingers

So my wife and I went to see PROMETHEUS last night, a movie I've been eager to see for a while now.  I figured from the imagery that it would be a "prequel" to the original ALIEN of 1979, which was a SF/Horror masterpiece and is still regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made.  The previews and commercials weren't giving away much, which I assumed meant that there was that much more behind the curtain for me to see  in the course of this much-anticipated sizzling summer super-film!

I was wrong.

I don't want to spend much time on this or ruin it for anyone who still wants to see it, but if this were a one-word movie review, that word would be, "disappointing".  Or maybe "let-down".  Or even "tease".

The premise is nice and promising and as the movie goes it does build steam and suspense.  It's good and creepy with some gory alien attacks and such and sets up a cool mystery with the discovery of other-than-human corpses thousands of years old with holographic replays of them running for their lives from some unseen attacker.  It asks all these great questions and has you asking more.  What it doesn't do is ANSWER THEM.  My biggest complaint about this movie is that it has the potential to do so much and never really does much of anything.  Most of the mysteries it creates are never solved.  There's all these questions you ask yourself and wait and wait for the cool revelations that answer them, and they never come.  The movie ends with a lot of ambivalence.

The visuals and acting and direction is all good stuff though.  Some of the characters are cool and interesting, some are cardboard cut-outs -- which you'll have, you can't have all 17 members of the crew be well developed, sometimes just the few quirks they add in gives all we need for unimportant characters.  Then again, some seemed semi-important with no development other than the expected stereotyping.  But don't get me wrong, it's a very cool movie experience...  as long as you don't mind being disappointed by the end of it.  We saw a 3D showing because the next 2D was an hour away.  Wouldn't recommend it.  The 3D effect is pretty damn cool, but you're effectively wearing sunglasses in a dark theatre: all the brilliant colors and crisp digital images and gory details of the movie get blurred down a shade, robbing you of some visual treats.

Another complaint I have (which is another question not quite answered) is: Is this supposed to set-up ALIEN?  If so, similar to the Star Wars prequels which tried so hard to, years later, go back and match up puzzle pieces so they align with original situations that were never intended to be lead-ins in the first place, the end of this movie leaves a mess that doesn't quite match up with the original movie.  Bodies that shouldn't be there, for one thing, and whatever else.  I prefer to think this was just one planet and that the crew of the Nostromo finds another with a similar "oops, we killed ourselves" set-up.

If THAT is the case, though, it leaves yet another unanswered question: did we witness what was supposed to be the unnecessarily complicated and convoluted evolution of the modern Alien xenomorph creature?  The process by which one person is infected so he can share his genetic material with another to create a new creature that infects yet another alien species so that something that looks close to but isn't quite our beloved Alien comes bursting forth...  It's like Ang Lee's evolution of the Hulk, like it goes out of it's way to have so many mutational steps to the process that no Hulk could ever be recreated.  And again, it doesn't all match up.  Which is fine, maybe this is a different strain or leads eventually to the one we know, but that question is posed but never answered.  

WHEW.  I wasn't planning on putting so much rant into this....  I think I'll stop now.

In conclusion, I'd give the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars: should be at least a 4,was hoping for more, but it just refuses to deliver.  If you haven't already spent too much money on theatre movie tickets, wait for the rental.

Monday, June 11, 2012

BATTLE REPORT: Any Given Sunday

On a ruined Imperial world the Space Wolves and Eldar of craftworld Ka’taena clashed and died.  (Though it wasn’t supposed to be that way...  It was going to be Dark Eldar fighting their Eldar brothers but J didn’t get his complex DE models put together in time; had I known I might have made a slightly different list...)

(misleading image stolen from SW codex)

Space Wolves:
   HQ - Rune Priest
   T – Grey Hunters (10)
   T – Grey Hunters (10)
   E – Terminator Wolf Guard with Arjac
   * - Drop Pod
   HVY – Long Fangs with 4 MLs
   HQ – Wolf Guard Battle Leader on Thunderwolf
   FA – Thunderwolf Cavalry (3)
   E – Wolf Scouts (5)

   HQ – Autarch on jetbike
   T – Guardian Jetbikers (3+1) with Warlock
   HQ – Asurmen, Phoenix Lord of the Dire Avenger aspect
   T – Dire Avengers (10)
   HVY – Dark Reapers (4)
   FA – Swooping Hawks (6)
   E – Striking Scorpions (7)
   E – Harlequins (8) with shadowseer and death jester
   * - Wave Serpent

This was a 1500 pt game.  We rolled out Capture and Control with a Spearhead deployment.  The Eldar went first. 

Once on the board the eldar force looked pretty meager, especially with hawks and scorpions in reserve and the DAs in the wave serpent.  The eldar’s first turn was mostly the reapers shooting, MAYBE killing a model.  Then the wolves’ drop pod slammed down among the jetbikers and the wolfguard termie squad killed two bikers with bolters, a hammer throw, and cyclone-fired krak missiles.  Them landing among the eldar pretty much tied up most xenos units while the rest of the wolf units moved forward. 

On turn two, thanks to the autarch’s “master strategist” ability, both the eldar reserve units entered the game (though he wasn’t much of a strategist, as it’ll turn out).  The wolf rune priest had summoned up violent storms that made deep striking perilous, so the swooping hawks tried to deep strike outside his range, which put them dangerously close to the board edge in the wolves’ back corner.  So the hawks scattered off the board and suffered a tragic mishap: the hawks dropping from the sky got caught by the storm winds and were dashed against the ruined buildings, killing the whole unit before their feet hit the ground.  This left the outflanking scorpions, also entering now, on the far side of the board alone.  They came on behind the long fangs, who were all on the second story of ruins and out of charge range, so the scorps fired their shuriken pistols, killing the fang leader.  On the opposite side of the field, the autarch and his bikers, the harlies, and the reapers all opened fire on the termies (except the reaper exarch, who held his triple-blast (had fast shot warrior power) tempest launcher at such close range).  No kills, so the bikers, autarch, and harlies charged.  The autarch’s laser lance and shadowseer’s kiss were the only effective attacks, including warlock witchblade and an incredible number of harlequin furious-charge rolls.  Only two termies died and Arjac took a wound.  On the wolves’ turn the thunderwolf cavalry, led by the WGBL with frost axe, charged the scorpions.  The scorps managed to inflict one wound on a wolf rider before being wiped out.  The DAs’ wave serpent moved flat out to support the two aspects coming in on the opposite side of the board, both of whom were now dead, thus the Phoenix Lord and his men and vehicle did nothing effective all turn.  The central melee ended with one termie death and a handful of harlie deaths.  The harlequins failed their morale check and somersaulted over the termies on their way off the field.  Being at only half strength the harlies would run off the board within a two more turns. 

At the beginning of turn three the eldar’s chances looked bleak.  In an effort to salvage the game Asurmen led his avengers out of the transport and into the fray, tipping the balance and killing the last two wolf guard terminators, including Arjac.  By now there was only the autarch and his biker warlock left with the harlies retreating.  The reapers were now freed up to fire at will and the grey hunter squads had moved into full view.  The exrach’s tempest launcher dropped three blast markers of AP3 fury on top of one grey hunter unit, cutting them down to the rune priest and 3 hunters.  The wolf units continued moving forward, and the long fang’s four krak missiles immobilized the wave serpent, which had maneuvered between the eldar and the approaching hunter squads, spraying twin-linked shuriken cannons into their ranks, killing one man.  The troublesome drop pod was still firmly planted within the eldar camp with its deathwind missile launcher.  The pod saturated the reapers’ position with missiles, killing three and leaving only the exarch.  (The dice were hating me all game: my reapers, scorpions, and bikes all had 3+ saves and I couldn’t make one to save their lives.)  Hunters fired what weapons they could at the bikers, killing the warlock.

Turn four.  The damn drop pod was still there, no eldar model confident that he could take it out.  The eldar were hurting, bad.  The harlies had reached the board edge and were gone.  The only hope for victory was to have the avengers fall back inside the reaper’s ruins and claim the home objective (capture and control game, remember); the wolves were no where near their objective.  Assuming they could hold it and not be killed before the game ran out, the eldar could still win.  This was Asurmen’s plan, as the autarch had proven to be mildly retarded (as his death would prove).  The Phoenix Lord, however, had not come along to hide behind walls.  Asurmen moved closer to the grey hunters, intending to duel the rune priest in close combat.  He took cover behind the downed wave serpent and shurikened the priest’s last hunter escorts down, leaving the weather witch alone.  The avengers made their way into the ruins, leaving the autarch to assault the drop pod with his S6 laser lance.  He wound up his jetbike, inches from the drop pod, and CHARGED!  And failed the dangerous terrain test that came with the rune priest’s storm against skimmers, failed his invuln save and DIED: he charged the drop pod and ran right into it, busting open his head.  On the wolves’ turn, the wolf scouts finally came in behind the eldar ruins, gunning down the reaper exarch with their pistols.  The rune priest again cast Jaws of the World Wolf, which thus far had only netted him one DA victim (eldar tend to pass their initiative rolls).  This time he targeted Asurmen and rolled double-ones: Perils of the Warp!  As the earth opened hoping to swallow Asurmen, a gaggle of daemons reached out from the crack and grabbed the rune priest’s feet, yanking him down into Hell.  Asurmen, meanwhile, casually sidestepped the hazard.  But the grey hunters hit Asurmen with seven bolter shots, two plasmagun bolts and a meltagun, robbing the Phoenix Lord of his chance at glory (I’m confident he could have charged the grey hunters and kicked their asses!).  The wolf cavalry kept coming, never reaching anyone else.  The long fangs fired krak missiles at the last visible DAs, turning one into a crimson mist. 

Turn five.  The eldar have eight dire avengers left, now “safe” inside their ruins and claiming their objective, and an immobilized wave serpent transport.  The DAs fired their catapults into the scout squad threatening them, managing to kill one.  The grey hunters charged the wave serpent, power fisting it until it exploded, the blast taking one hunter with it.  The scouts stood their ground and shot down another avenger, thus leaving the eldar with seven models still on the board to fight off scouts, grey hunters, long fangs, and a wolf guard battle leader with his thunderwolf cavalry... 

Next came the roll to see if the game would continue to turn six.  Knowing beyond a doubt, based on my rolling thus far, that if *I* rolled the die a one or two would certainly come up, thus ending the game with my boys holding an objective, I volunteered to do it...  And it did.  Thus the last surviving dire avengers WON the game huddled around their objective, surrounded by the Sons of Russ.  (Of course, they’d all be dead ten minutes later...)

MVP:  My most valuable player for the game was Asurmen, first among the Phoenix Lords.  He led his men into the fray against Arjac and the seemlingly impervious terminators, cutting them down with his dire sword in the first move of the combat (init 7, ya know).  He then separated himself from his DA squad and moved fearlessly toward the enemy alone, ready to take on all comers (until he was shot down by a squad of nine cowardly grey hunters afraid to take him on...).  (I suppose I could include his boys, the brave Dire Avengers who actually won the game by securing their objective but...  How heroic was that, really?)

Boobie Prize:  The poor swooping hawks went splat before they could even touch down or fire a shot, but I don’t blame them.  I blame the architect of the eldar’s grief, the overconfident and mildly handicapped Autarch.  It was his plan to bring the hawks and scorpions in behind the long fangs and wolfriders, and both units were dead by the end of the very same turn.  And it was he who valiantly charged an immobilized, open-topped, oversize empty beer keg and managed to kill himself in the process.  What a wiener.   

(By the way, the title, "Any Given Sunday" has no significance, other than we played on Sunday.  Hey, it's not always easy to come up with appropriate snazzy titles.)