Sunday, July 29, 2012

BATTLE REPORT: Rumble in the Jungle, Part 1

J and I decided to test out some new 6th edition rules.  This was my first go at it and his second or third.  That being the case, we tried not to bite off more than we could chew.  We weren’t trying to tackle all the rules at once, just a little at a time.  For example, we did roll a mission and go for the primary and secondary objectives, but we didn’t roll out special terrain or mysterious objectives or anything like that-- we’d have choked.

As it was we only got through three turns before we called the game, mostly due to: getting late in the day and we both had things we had to do; it had taken us HOURS just to get that far with our constant referencing of the thousand-page book (okay, more like 400 pages or so); and by the end of turn three a winner was pretty predictable.

I also tried to be a better journalist and took lots of pictures, but not many turned out. 

We played 1250 points to keep it small.  I had my Crimson Fist Marines with Eldar allies (trying to vary my troops and use as many new rules as possible) and J tried out his new Dark Eldar (including a Flyer).  It was a cool and fun game, if bogged down in the swampy rules referencing.  But both sides dove right in and in three turns the blood bath hadn’t left many men on the board.  The set-up was something like this:

The Alliance of Decency:

HQ      Azimodais – librarian level 2: psychic shriek (telepathy), enfeeble (biomancy)
T          Sniper Scouts (5)
T          Tac squad (10) in Drop Pod with locator beacon
E          Sternguard (5) in Razorback
FA       Assault Marines (7)
FA       Landspeeder
HVY    Predator Tank

HQ      The Vandal Prince – autarch on jetbike
T          Guardian Jetbikes (3+1) with Warlock   

The Orgy of Naughtiness

HQ      Archon with Court in Venom
HQ      Lelith
T          Wyches (10)
T          Warriors (10)
E          Incubi (5) in Venom
FA       Beastmaster with Clawed Fiend
FA       Reaver Jetbikes (3)
HVY    Razorwing Jetfighter

My Librarian was my Warlord and the Archon was his.  We rolled out Warloard Traits but, honestly, I don’t remember what they were and they never came into play in our short game. 

The shop had some great fake plants (great for scenery, terrible for fake plants) so we set up the board as a lush jungle with ruins.  Apparently this had been an outpost of sometime in the past and was long abandoned and overgrown.  But there was still something of value here (we each had one objective on our side of the board – The Emperor’s Will mission, formerly Capture and Control, I believe).  The Game started in night fighting, which was solely to the Dark Eldar’s advantage... 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises

I don’t do a movie entry on everything I see, of course, but some of them I feel compelled to share my thoughts on, usually if I have strong feelings one way or another, and I have strong and mixed feelings about this one.

This was a highly anticipated flick, not just for me but for everyone.  The Nolan Batman trilogy has been a great take on the Batman character and legacy.  In general, I expect the third of a trilogy to let me down.  They can rarely meet the expectations of the audience or fulfill the promises made by the first two, especially after a marvelous second movie (the Spider-Man and Matrix movies come to mind).  This actually is a great movie.  No matter the criticism I’m about to make, it was awesome with deep storytelling and was better than I expected... but I was still disappointed.  While this was a great movie, it really wasn’t much of a Batman movie.  (A sentiment I’m about to repeat several times...)

It comes full-circle.  One of the great things storytelling-wise about this movie was that it linked so well not only with the second movie, but came full-circle back to a lot of the first movie (Batman Begins).  The downside of that (at least for my wife, who was watching with me), is that if you’re not as familiar with the first as most of us geeks are, you miss a lot of good stuff.  (But hey, it’s the third of a series, you better have seen the other two, right?) 

Lots of good characters; too bad Batman isn’t one of them.  This one draws in a lot of characters from previous movies and gives us some new ones, including a lot of classic comic book personalities.  Catwoman was great, Bane was great—both very well portrayed with cool looks.  New characters were introduced, well developed, and got lots of screen time.  Gotham came alive with good characters.  My main complaint here is that Batman wasn’t one of them.  Of all the characters in the movie, Batman probably got the least amount of screen time.  One of the things I liked about the first movie was that Bruce Wayne was as much a character as Batman.  And while that also contributes to the coming full-circle idea here, I was gravely disappointed with the severe lack of Batman.  Bruce Wayne is a troubled character with a lot of stuff going on, and that’s all well and good, but by the third movie, we want more Batman.  There was a lot of Dark Knight Returns to this movie and it starts in a cool place with Batman retired and he has to find his way back.  That’s great story.  And the first time we really see him come back on he’s on the Batpod bike and he materializes out of the darkness and BAM! there he is.  I got all excited—everyone did.  Alright, he’s back!  But that didn’t last.  Most of the time that he was Batman he was in his new flying car, which was great for flying contraption fans, but not so great for Batman fans.  I came to this flick to see Batman kick ass.  Unfortunately, most of the time, he was on the receiving end.      

This movie is epic, dark, gritty, realistic... depressing, dismal...  and not really a Batman movie.  It is a great movie.  It is.  Awesome story, but it certainly was darkest before the dawn and just kept getting darker all the time.  This became almost more of a dark utopia type of movie than a Batman flick.  And while in the second movie we had the comic book flare of the Joker and Two-Face, any flare was strained out of these characters.  I did like Catwoman’s look, the visors that looked like ears when pushed up on her head, her attitude and selfish portrayal (Anne Hathaway did a good job—and looked good doing it too, by the way).  And I loved the dark theme and drive of the League of Shadows stuff and supposedly turning Gotham over to the under-privileged and all that.  I thought I wanted just the gritty, realistic Dark Knight kind of movie Nolan’s given us here but...  Somewhere in making it more realistic, he lost the fantastic.  Somewhere in translating it to match our world, he lost the fun, cool, super-heroic aspects that made it what we wanted to see: a Batman movie. 

Despite all that, I did like the ending.  Dawn does finally break and the resolution of everything is pretty cool.  Lots of strings that get tied off (or left untied) in ways that contradict the usual Hollywood norm.  Everything in the ending was very satisfying to me. 

All this said, it is an excellent, epic, dark, realistic movie.  Well done in almost every way.  It just doesn’t come off to me as much of a Batman movie.  In fact, this might be the most appropriate poster I could find:

To score it, I’d say 4 of 5 stars.  (4.5 as a movie in general, with a penalty of minus 0.5 points for not being the movie I went to see.)

(this blog entry is being simul-cast, by the way)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Great Schism

The Great Schism here isn't referring to Chaos in the Warhammer universe (sorry to disappoint).

If you've perused this blog before you may notice some changes.  For one, the down-the-gullet shot of my badass defiler here used to be my profile photo rather than my background.  (Damn, I'm going to have to run my Chaos again soon just so i can use this monstrosity!)  You may also notice an awesome classic image from Gustave Dore taken from his work on Dante's Divine Comedy, now nestled at the top of my menu.  The Schism here is the creation of a new website and subsequent separation of my cyber-activities.  Brink's Chaos Theory will continue to be my 40K blog (about 80-90% of the content), while still occasionally featuring other topics as I see fit (it is my blog, after all).

Fugitives of Purgatory is my new author's website.  If you take a moment to check it out, you'll find what that's all about.  In a nutshell, I'm taking my writing ambitions in a new and more active direction.  Therefore, 80-90% of my blog activity on writing will go there, though some articles and entries will cross-pollinate from time to time.  (After all, who's going to promote my work if not me??)

And if the Emperor finds me favorable, I may one day be sharing news of forth-coming 40K stories and/or novels from the Black Library (submissions in their in-box at this time).  THAT would be wonderful, but whether or not I am chosen to join the BL's illustrious chapter of writer-astartes, I'll soon be producing work of my own for free and for sale in e-book format.  Stay tuned for that.  And for more 40K and other entries.

Let the Chaos Theorizing continue...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Challenges: Why bother??

Okay, I didn't mean for that to come out so cynical, the new challenge rules make it very cinematic for characters (minor and major) to step away from the ranks and duke it out old-school.  But if GW went to the trouble of creating such a cool scenario for us to play out, why didn't they include some benefit for doing so??!

As far as I can tell, if you refuse a challenge there's a penalty: you don't get to fight and your unit cannot use your Leadership cuz you're a cowardly wuss (or because a cowardly super-character with a 2+ save and power claws challenged a single-wound sergeant with a bolt pistol and a bum knee just because he knew he could beat the hell out of him).  So if you decline the challenge there's a bad side.  But what if you win, which is of course the whole point?  Is there any benefit, other than singling out and killing the best model in the unit?  As far as I can see, there isn't one.

You would think after all that pomp and circumstance there would be a prize for single combat.  I suggest things like this:

   * The victorious unit adds an additional +1, or maybe even adds again the full number of wounds the killed combatant had, to their combat resolution total for determining the winner of the assault.  So if a mighty chaos lord with 3 wounds was killed in single combat among the violent press of bodies, at the end of the phase add the number of wounds dealt to that dead lord, plus his 3 original wounds, representing the great achievement of slaying such a powerful character in a duel.
   * The side of the winning combatant cannot be routed by a failed morale check if they end up losing the total combat.  Let's say your side wins the challenge but loses the combat in total wounds: you may lose but no morale check is needed -- having won the combat was a bolster enough that your men fight on regardless.  They count as having tied the combat and the fight continues as normal next round.
   * If the total combat goes on into a second round after the challenge has resolved, the winning side counts as having Preferred Enemy for that next round, having been bolstered by the victory to press ever further into the fray.

SOMETHING.  It just seems too cool an event to have no real value or benefit in the game.

Any other ideas out there...?

Friday, July 20, 2012


Just a short note here.  These are my first two prototypic Sternguard models (in dramatic buddy-cop TV close-ups).  For better than 2 years I’ve been telling myself I need to come up with something that makes my sternguard vets stand out from the rest of my Fists, and now I have it.  I ordered these Spartan-styled heads from Scibor’s miniatures (  He’s got some good stuff over there!  When I finally get around to building the sergeant, he may have the torso of a blood angel sanguary guard, which is some very Greek epic hero-type armor, plus a grey knight halberd/spear hand.  It’s all still in the works.  I generally would prefer not to post guys not completed but I was kinda excited about how they were looking.   

I’m also kinda excited about playing my first game muddling through the 6th ed rules.  J and I are planning to have a go at it sometime soon, probably with a small force of 1250 pts or so just to test the waters.  So the last few days I’ve been dreaming up the kind of list that will let me play with a variety of new rules, such as the new psychics, vehicle rules, jetbikes, jump troops, snipers, allies, etc.  I’m also very eager to try the new character stuff—there’s nothing I like more than seeing the most unlikely minor hero turn out to be the VIP of the war effort! 

So at the risk of exposing valuable intel to my enemy, here’s the rough list I’m thinking of playing:


Brainiac -- level 2 Librarian
Scouts (5) snipers
Tac squad (10)
Assault Squad (6)
Predator Tank
Sternguard (5)
Land Speeder
Drop Pod


The Vandel Prince -- autarch on jetbike
Guardian Jetbikes (4+1)
Warlock on Jetbike

My list is somewhat influenced by the fact that I’d like to run mostly painted models, though I haven’t decided yet who will play the role of Brainiac in this school play – don’t really have a librarian model, but also no lack of candidates who want the part!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

HEAVY HANDED: Crimson Fist Dreadnought

My third installment of HEAVY HANDED may be brief, but it packs a whollup!

This is Brother Brutus, my Crimson Fist venerable dreadnought.  Well, the model comes from the AoBR set, but I always pay for venerable status.  This has made him nigh-invulnerable in the past (though in a recent game he did get immobilized and eventually killed all while still standing on the drop pod exit ramp).  But you have to take a helluvalot of abuse to get Venerable status anyway, and he has.  Many is the Tau missile that has slammed into his adamantium carcass with little-to-no effect.  I generally launch him halfway across the field in a drop pod, placing him in a good position to either discourage the enemy, absorb damage for my oncoming marines, or make an immediate and devastating attack -- or all three!

To spruce him up a bit I added an empty banner post and afixed an Ork skull (also, i think, from the AoBR sprues).  This goes along with the CF fluff, them having nearly been wiped out by an ork WAAGGHH!.  Nearly, but not quite. (One of the things that attracted me to this chapter is their nearly extinct underdog status, along with them being an original iconic chapter, and just having a cool color scheme.)  I also added bullet holes to him and put alot of painting effort into the sarcophagus, as well as adding a transfer to one leg and one shoulder -- I don't really care for the transfers, they always come out LOOKING like transfers for me, but...  can't hand paint that icon on there so what's a boy to do...?

If I want Brutus to be anti-vehicle, I leave him with the multimelta.  If a blast from that into a vehicle hull doesn't do the trick, he just charges in and tears it apart by hand.  If I want an anti-personnel kinda dread, i pay for an assault cannon or plasmacannon (didn't magnetize him, just hope i play with someone who can suspend disbelief enough to imagine the little plastic robot has a weapon other than what you see -- usually not a problem, this is a game for the imaginative type).  And I always trade out the pee-shooter stormbolter for a heavy flamer -- that makes him antipersonnel 24/7.  Helps when a mob of little pests is going to try to tie you down or get in your way.

Did I say this was going to be brief?  I guess I run at the mouth (well, fingers)...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Count of Counts-As

Last time I wrote about using Space Wolves as allies for a Chaos force (among others).  Not long ago I bought three warhammer fantasy beastmen centaurs, originally with the thought I could use them as chaos spawn (beasts, tough, savage).  Today, in trying to generate some more “counts-as” ideas for using them, I came up with running a chaotic SW team and using the Thunderwolf Cavalry stats to do justice to my savage centaurs.  So here’s what I came up with (using 5th edition rules):

Hell’s Huntsmen 


Bestial Agility:  Their unit type is Cavalry/Beasts.  In addition, they can vault over terrain when assaulting and count as having assault grenades (TWC’s frags).

Infernal Spears: The Huntsmen wield weapons of immaterium in their hunts and in combat.  In melee combat they act as Rending weapons and the beastmen’s savagery adds +1 Attack (TWC have a CCW and pistol).  They can also cast them as javelins from afar, summoning a new one to replace it in a burst of red flame.  Huntsmen may make a shooting attack using the following profile (bolt pistol):
            Range: 12”       S4        AP5     Assault 1
Against vehicles they can make a single concentrated strike at S6 (krak grenades).

Animal Insticts:  The Huntsmen have the following special rules: acute sense, and they shall know no fear, counter-attack, beast-kin (chaos hounds within 12” reroll morale tests).  Being otherworldly, they are also incredibly resilient and as such have a 3+ armor save.

*  *  *

There are, of course, plenty of optional wargear you can buy for TWC but personally, I’ll be running them all as-is basic TWC.  Fifty points a piece is enough for me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lupine Allies

Riding on the trail of seeing and posting about THE GREY, I also (before seeing the movie by the way) was recently thinking about Space Wolf ally contingents.  Allies are of course the big buzz in 40k now and even though I haven't yet seen the actual official rules, I got the impression it goes something like this: For every primary contingent you may take a small ally contingent, requiring the usual HQ and T (1 or 2?) choices, plus up to one each of E, FA, and HVY.  Is that accurate, folks??

As my earlier "Buddy System" posting will attest, I have been pro-allies for a long time.  And now that it's official, I love the chance to build little mini-forces of any and all 40K armies (well, not all--some just don't appeal to me) and still use them in battle.  This allows us to have all the stuff we want without the 2000 point (and $2000) commitment.

So for me, doing different armies means finding the pure flavor of that force and going with it.  Why play Space Wolves if you're just going to spam out marines and tanks like any other SM army??  What's the point?  So when I run the Wolves through the strainer, I come out with things like: WOLVES (obviously), getting 2 for 1 HQs, shamanic weather powers, and cunning hunter-types.  Of course I could easily fill 3000 points with these things and want more, but let's focus.

So my general, relatively cheap wolf contingent looks something like this:

HQ Canis Wolfborn w. 2 wolf companions 205
(T) Fenrisian Wolves (6) w. cyberwolf 56
FA Thunderwolf Cavalry (3) 150
E Wolf Scouts (5) w. meltagun 85

I love the idea of Canis in general, and he makes Fenrisian wolves troops, so got that covered.  Add the wolfriders (cuz why else take SW at all?) and the ultra-cunning outflanking scouts.  BAM, captured the pure wolfie syrup right from the tap.  Of course there's a lot of other units I like, like the Lone Wolf or adding a dreadnought to your force instead of the scouts.  I hear long fangs are popular, as are land raiders. A solid core of grey hunters is always nice.  And it is a shame not to take another HQ and let that 1/2 slot go to waste, so I could take a rune or wolf priest or Njal or another named hero or the invulnerable Bjorn, but that's getting pricey.  This is just a good 500-pt starting point that i think makes a nice little wolf pack for adding to any army.

Now let's talk Chaotic.  My primary Chaos warband is called Prospero's Corpse, as it is composed of the ragged survivors of that tragic event 10,000 years ago when the Space Wolves laid waste to the Thousand Sons' homeworld, plus other oddities they've picked up over the millennia.  I usually like to take a Daemon Prince (Thoth, egyptian-like lord of Tzeentch) and my converted naughty Space Wolf Thorbolg Wolfsbane, who I run as Huron Blackheart, giving him badassness in combat and some sorcerous abilities (assume his built-in heavy flamer is a very Tzeentchy fire spell cast at will).  I also add in Khorne Berserkers represented by and as feral bloodclaws.  But now I can add real space wolves to my pool!  The hard part is deciding which HQ to lose, cuz i sure like Blackheart's profile.  Thorbolg could be a rune priest maybe, give him saga of the warrior born and two powers, but this makes him expensive and only with 2 wounds.  The benefit is TWO more HQs for the price of one.  I'll give it some thought, I have time: who knows when I'll get back to playing chaos (or how it'll look after the new codex)?

(my Thorbolg conversion, still awaiting the brush)

But another thought I had for a Chaotic SW contingent is making a grisly werewolf model and running it as Canis.  Thus he has an awesome statline befitting a monster, boosts wolves in the army, includes wolves as troops, charges as a beast/cavalry model, and is generally a bad mutha.  Now I just need to make me a werewolf!

(taken from the greatest werewolf movie ever made, by the way...)

Now can I get a tall frothy mug in this quaint little pub by the moor...?

(not the greatest WW movie, but probably still in the top five)

Movie: The Grey

Just a quick blurb on the movie THE GREY, which we just watched last night.


I usually don't go in much for man vs nature stories.  There generally isn't much for conflict or story, as it's usually just people up against a wall, as in the "bad guy" is a force of nature with no mind or dialogue or motives or anything.  The movies that tend to come out of this are bad disaster flicks based almost wholly on special effects and it's just following a gang of people we don't care about through nearly unavoidable crap that they have no chance against though somehow survive.  That kind of thing is very real world, or course, but not all that entertaining for me.  The best man vs nature stories, though, delve into deeply into character.  Aside from this movie, the only great one that comes to mind is Moby Dick (wish I had the stamina to actually READ that one).

But this man vs. nature story is fantastic.  Depressing, but fantastic.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but it's almost as much werewolf horror movie as it is survival story or great character story.  The two ladies watching with me were more freaked out and afraid to go to bed watching this than one of those dime-a-dozen haunted house movies (if that's any more incentive to see it).

Overall, great movie, deep characters and continual conflict and adventure, plus all natural horrors and some good gore too.  And it's Liam Neeson--nuff said!  I give it 4.5 out of 5, if not a full FIVE stars.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

HEAVY HANDED: Crimson Fist Predator Tank

I have avoided painting my vehicles; one, because of the sheer size and surface area, and two, because I wasn’t sure how I was going to add detail and make interesting such a big and flat model.  But after several painting sessions and coming up with more ideas as I went along, I’m pretty happy with the results.  

I again employed dry brushing, which is a new technique for me.  This brought out the details and edges of the tank itself, also giving it a battle-worn look, and was especially effective in giving the side guns a cooler look.  The water transfers...  I like that they give me symbols and decals I can’t do myself, but they tend to stand out against the paint—in other words, they look like decals.  The only exception is the front fist icon, which I went over again with a fine-tipped marker to make it better match the paint job (some of these pics are pre-marker).  The bullet holes were made with a tiny hobby drill, then painted with the lighter dry brush color to show the dark paint being blasted off.  I also had a fantasy ogre head handy, which became a decapitated trophy head, probably a Khornate monster by the color scheme. 

I also magnetized the side sponsons so I can switch between heavy bolters and lascannons.  (The only downside being they droop -- darn magnets went on crooked i guess.)

As the final detail to make my tank more interesting, I added a tank commander.  Getting sick of the blue, and this big model having lots of it already, I opted for the techmarine look of all red armor, making this white-bearded grandpa Santa Claus.  And then I went even further, magnetizing the hell out of him too!  His head and waist have magnets, allowing head swaps and switching from tank to legs.  If I were to opt for the tank upgrade of Sergeant Chronus from the SM codex (which ain’t likely, as I can find a dozen better things to do with 50 pts), I could remove him from the wrecked tank and place him on some nice sturdy legs, complete with a holstered pistol on his hip.  And if I decide to run a chaos army needing armor support, I can even swap heads, making Santa into Satan.

Tactically, this is usually the only heavy vehicle I use on the battlefield (I just like infantry).  I generally give it heavy bolters and the autocannon (gotta stick with the classic tank look) and then just pivot on the spot, giving me two S7 and six S5 shots, all AP4.  This is great for decimating infantry units, beating down big monsters, and dropping light skimmers from the sky.  It also absorbs a lot of abuse and is generally intimidating, especially when it starts rolling toward the enemy’s lines. 

(I also tend to go camera crazy and take a lot of pics...)