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January 31, 2009

Apocalypse Scratchbuilding: A Cautionary Tale

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Scratchbuild for Apocalypse can be a lot of fun, and with all the great units mentioned in the Apoc books, there is no shortage of ideas. However, scratchbuilding apocalypse models has an unspoken dark side: storage. Our loyal readers may remember the Capitol Imperialis I build last year. It's an amazing model and everyone at the FLGS loves it, but its really really big. For a while, we were able to keep it at the game store, but they were cleaning house last week and decided it took up too much room and it had to go (not that I blame them, it took an entire shelf in the terrain storage room). So the beast has to come home.

I imagine this is not an uncommon problem among Apoc builders. So, as a public service, BoLS has decided to provide several unique storage ideas to help you integrate your new Apocalypse model into your home.

Who could argue with a nice centerpiece to have dinner around?
It can also be used as a handsome coffee table.

What pooch wouldn't want the Imperium's finest as a dog carrier?

And if all else fails, it makes a handy magazine rack.

You could either spend hundreds of dollars at the fine furniture store, or save that money and build a furniture hutch that doubles as an imperitor titan. It's a win-win situation (and I'm sure your significant other would agree)

January 30, 2009

NEWS: GW Financials and BoLS Upgrades

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Hi guys,

A couple of things to chew on as we head into the weekend.

GW 2008-2009 Interum Financials
Games Workshop, our favorite plastic crack manufacturer has released some of their interum numbers for the world to see. Take a gander at those folks.

BoLS Upgrades
We have finally figured out how to add related posts links to the bottom of individual articles. I've been wanting to add this for awhile as we are starting to get a LOT of content on the site, and its an easy way to discover new BoLS topics, especially for our newer readers. You will see them listed immediately after the articles, but before the DISQUS comments. You are free to click at will...

~Those interum financials seem pretty encouraging after the last couple of years GW has been through. I guess the question now moves to what lay at the heart of the upbeat news. Was it general "tightening of the screws" to run a tighter ship? Apocalypse? 40k 5th Edition? Let the conversation begin...

40K SNEAK PEEK: Ork Stompa Sprues

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Look what 40k goodie wandered in front of my camera.... Have at it guys.

~Note the size of some of those stompa sprue frames compared to the ruler. Some of these sprues may be larger than the Baneblades. This baby is BIG in person. Look at that chainsaw arm piece for example, its almost as long as a rhino!

January 29, 2009

EDITORIAL: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

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On the heels of the recent editorial here about "What's Wrong With 40K Today?" I thought I'd offer an extension to that much needed discussion. Something that's been on my mind for quite a while since I started looking at online Games Workshop forums a couple years ago is their use and abuse. Like most things, GW related fan forums were initially created for a variety of fun, useful and helpful purposes, such as:

- To create a place for hobbyists to meet others with a like interest so that they could discuss their passion for the hobby.
- To allow hobbyists to find assistance with the hobby, such as modeling and painting advice or to discuss rules questions or game strategies.
- To find information about GW and related products that support the hobby.
- To find out about events and stores in their respective areas where they could find products, attend events and meet and play games with other enthusiasts.

All of these are worthwhile services provided to one degree or another by virtually all GW fan forums, but there's a dark side to the forums, one that became apparent to me within minutes of looking at one for the first time a few years ago. Specifically, there are a number of people on the Games Workshop fan forums that are not there for any useful purpose other than to entertain themselves at the expense of others. These people are in the minority, but they have a toxic effect on other hobbyists and the growth of the hobby. These forum "trolls" make their presence felt in a variety of ways depending on the individual, but there are some common problems that recur with great frequency:

- People whose only reason for being on the forums seems to be to look for what they perceive as any kind of error or weakness in the posts of others, whereupon they immediately retort with as much venom and vitriol as possible in an apparent effort to humiliate the other forum user. Many times their barbs are incorrect or false, but this doesn't stop them from launching their attacks anyway. Regardless of whether or not another post is incorrect or not to your liking, it's possible to disagree without being uncivil. If you want people to be respectful to you, try it out on others. Making people feel bad is easy, so there should hardly be any sense of power or satisfaction in doing so. On the other hand, making people feel great requires only slightly more effort and the rewards are far greater. It amazes me how quickly people toss away an opportunity to make a friend or ally on forums by being rude. For all you know, you may have just offended someone who could have really helped you down the road. The lesson here is, don't be a jerk.
- People who claim they haven't touched a GW product in years and that they dislike or hate GW's products, yet they are still hanging around on the forums talking about them. I've seen this a number of times and it's just mystifying. If I stop buying products of any kind by a given company because I'm dissatisfied I don't spend my time years later hanging around on forums talking about them, nor do many other people I suspect. Nevertheless, there are a small number of people out there who seem to be fixated on chatting about GW on forums years after they've supposedly moved on from the GW hobby.
- Supposed fans who find fault with virtually everything GW does, yet they persist in buying their products and complaining about them. For example, if GW releases something quickly then these pseudo fans say it was rushed and poor quality, if GW takes their time releasing a product then GW is accused of stalling. To these people, every new miniature is more horribly sculpted than the last, an abomination and offense to the eyes. Yet, they keep buying the stuff and complaining about it. It's not that GW doesn't occasionally need some constructive criticism, but these "fans" seem to hate everything GW does just for the sake of doing so. My favorite irrational complaint, "GW just wants to sell us more models!" Yes, of course they do.
- Petty bickerers are another issue. These people claim not to mean any harm and they may on occasion be polite when they rant, but they just find fault with everything anyone else says and have to post a contrary thought to everything posted by others.
- The "politico" is another troll waiting to spring. Many fan forums are international and it doesn't take long for some people to find something to be upset about and any post not concerning their own place of residence is seen as an affront and a deliberate statement of "anti-whateverland". Or worse, they insist on posting something that is deliberately inflammatory themselves. Fan forums about toy soldiers are no place for politics. Check your political baggage at the door before signing on please. A post about something fun in one place is not a deliberate insult to everywhere else.
- The user who thinks he's cool because he uses a lot of foul language. There's a time and place for everything, including the occasional obscenity, but if you can't carry on a conversation at all without such language, especially in forums where there are many younger users and children, then perhaps your ability to communicate is suspect. Not everyone on the forums wants to hear that language or have their kids exposed to it, so save it for another time and place where it's more welcome and acceptable.
- Overzealous moderators are an occasional pitfall. Moderators are generally volunteers and their efforts to make order out of chaos are admirable and needed. However, I've seen perfectly good hobby conversations shut down because they were perceived as being off-topic, in the wrong area, or just not to the moderator's liking. Most of the time these judgment calls are on target, but more than once I've seen some highly subjective judgments that were arbitrary, harsh and simply unnecessary used to close down a perfectly fun and enthusiastic hobby discussion. Moderators have a lot of discretionary ability and a few of them seem to exercise it at times just because they can rather than because it's helpful. Most moderators are doing their best, but with so many genuinely rude posts allowed to persist on forums it can be amazing what gets focused on and what does not. If a conversation or post is highly useful or helpful, maybe a little reevaluation as to the necessity of moving, closing, or deleting it is in order. The forum will not collapse because of it.

My goal when I started participating in forums was and still is to promote the hobby and ensure the success of GW so that they'll keep making great miniatures for years to come for all their customers all over the world. When I was invited by Bigred to write for Bell Of Lost Souls, I jumped on the opportunity because I thought I could contribute to the hobby by helping people with hobby information and promoting great new GW products and events. As a result, I've had contact with a lot of nice people who are enthusiastic hobbyists that want to share that enthusiasm with others. Unfortunately, in the online forums, like most users I have also encountered a lot of discord and rudeness. Because of this, I personally stopped using one forum entirely and have had an on-again-off-again relationship with a couple others. I'll use a forum for a while and really have fun, then some unpleasantness will occur and I'll stay away for a few weeks or even months. At times I've considered staying out of the forums altogether except to lurk for good sneak peeks, which is how I initially started my love-hate relationship with forums. After all, Warhammer is the most fun thing in the world to me and if something is taking the fun out of it then it serves no useful purpose for me at all. Warhammer is tons of fun and a great diversion from the harshness of the world for a lot of people and for most hobbyists the last thing they want when they visit forums is to have that fun spoiled by some evil troll.

So what is the point of this editorial? It's simply this. Everyone who is on a GW fan forum should be there for one reason, even if it's inadvertent. That reason should be to support the hobby they love. If they're there to get answers to a painting or converting question, that supports the hobby as do the people who answer the questions. If they post news about events or product information, that supports the hobby. If they encourage other people with their projects or arrange to play games, that supports the hobby. If they're making product trades or looking to buy more product, that supports the hobby. Anything and everything else on the forum should take a back seat to that ideal. That ideal, supporting hobbyists and the hobby, is the reason the forums came into being in the first place.

Personally, I want to promote this hobby to as many people as possible and get customers into the stores, something GW could really use in these economic times. I don't work for GW and I never have, I'm just an unabashed fan who really, REALLY loves this hobby. GW's holiday season sales were down a bit this past year and the company could use a boost like everyone else, companies and customers alike. GW would like to have about 400 stores in the US within 15 years. How can we help make that happen? Everyone should be behind that regardless of where they live to ensure the continued success of GW. When GW grows in any country, hobbyists everywhere benefit. More customers anywhere means more product for all customers everywhere. Everyone who loves the hobby should be doing everything they can to promote it or GW could go extinct like a lot of other great companies have done over the past few years. Everyone who loves the hobby should be helping to promote it as much as possible and everything else on a hobby forum should be secondary to that. If you really love the hobby and you're on a forum for any other reason, perhaps its time to reevaluate your presence there. GW fan forums were not created as a haven for anonymous rudeness in spite of the fact that there's plenty of it on them. The health of our hobby suffers from such behavior and as a community we need to reject it or one day we may find there is no GW hobby community or GW at all.

And for me, BoLS as a "blog" shines and it's why I accepted the opportunity to sign on as a writer here. BoLS is a great fan site dedicated to promoting the hobby we love. BoLS has contributed directly and indirectly to community building for our hobby and I'm happy to contribute to that effort.

Speaking of the hobby, I finished painting my Fuegan model last night and I just have two more Phoenix Lords to go to complete all six. Phoenix Court of Khaine is coming! I also took advantage of the lower exchange rate right now between the dollar and pound and ordered a Forge World Revenant Titan for my Eldar as well as a couple Chaos Hellblade Fighters. And I'm just finishing up a secret super-heavy hobby project which I hope to show sometime within the next few weeks. Have fun!

NEWS: Dawn Of War II and Astronomican

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Hey guys,

A couple of items today.

Dawn of War II
You've followed the coverage, and drooled at the previews. Wait no longer, the demo is now open to all! Go here to find out more.

Astro Mag #3
Our good friends over at Astronomican have released Astro Mag Issue #3. Go get it and enjoy even more homegrew goodness from our good friends. If you like it, drop them a line and tell them BoLS sent ya!

~More stuff coming soon

January 28, 2009

EPIC: Gods of War - Titans and War Engines

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A guest article by Global Epic-Evangelist: GR00V3R

For me, the most compelling artworks describing war in the 41st Millennium are those that show great armies tearing each other apart over a nameless battlefield. Frequently, these works feature massive Titans that tower high above the forces battling on the ground. These gigantic machines unleash raging torrents of destruction with each shot fired and are worshipped as gods of war.

In Epic:Armageddon, Titans rule the field of battle and are rightly feared by the enemy.

Several Titans of Legio Victorum

The War Engine Class
In addition to Epic:Armageddon’s unit classes of Infantry, Light Vehicles and Armoured Vehicles, the rules also allow for a fourth, much larger class called War Engines. Titans are the largest and most terrifying war engines available in Epic:Armageddon, but smaller units like super-heavy tanks (such as the Baneblade or Shadowsword) and certain flyers (such as the Thunderhawk and Helltalon) are also considered war engines.

War engines operate slightly differently to the other unit classes, and for this reason the rules describing war engines are covered in a separate chapter dedicated to playing with them.

Damage Capacity
Thanks to their large size and considerable armour (be it the reinforced plasteel of a Warlord or the super-toughened skin or carapace of a Tyranid Bio-titan), war engines are more difficult to destroy than are units of the other classes. In the Epic rules, this is catered for by war engines having Damage Capacity (DC). A Warhound titan has a DC of 2, and it therefore takes 2 hits to destroy it. A Warlord has a DC of 8, and so takes 8 hits. A war engine’s DC rating is also used in other areas of the game, such as for determining how many dice it rolls during assaults and how easy it is to break.

Playing With War Engines
War engines follow the normal rules for movement or flying, and they shoot in much the same way--all weapons target a single enemy formation. Where they begin to differ is in their treatment of formations, zones of control and transported troops.

A Warlord Titan strides the field of battle

War engines often operate as individual units (that is, a formation of one). As a formation (even of one unit), all the standard rules governing formations apply. If the formation consists of several war engines, the coherency distance each must maintain is equal to their starting DC multiplied by 5cm. So a Baneblade, which has a starting DC of 3, must remain within 15cm of another unit in its formation. Similarly, war engines’ zones of control is lost only when they have been charged by a number of units equal to their starting DC.

Unlike other classes, troop-carrier war engines can transport troops from another formation, even multiple formations, so long as the entire formation can embark as part of the same movement. This rule allows the Thunderhawks, for example, to transport two formations of Devastators or Assault marines (or one of each) and rapidly deliver their firepower just about anywhere on the battlefield--the ability to perform this kind of attack is what makes Marines a deadly opponent.

When it comes to destroying or breaking a war engine, you’re in for a rude shock: they’re ubertough. Most have reinforced armour, and some have void shields or some equivalent that you need to knock down before you can even begin to damage the war engine itself. In addition, many war engines enjoy the Fearless special rule, which means they are immune to extra damage from taking blast markers while broken or losing an assault.

An Ork Gargantuan Squiggoth

Playing against a war engine, though, two things are in your favour: weapons designated as being Titan Killers, and critical hits.

Titan Killers
Some units are armed with Titan Killer weapons. Many of these can destroy a war engine with a single shot. Units hit by a Titan Killer weapon cannot take a cover or armour save--not even if they have reinforced armour--although void shields or power fields still absorb a hit each, and a single holofield save can be taken against the Titan Killer shot (in this case, the Eldar player gets one attempt only to save against the Titan Killer’s hits--it’s save all or save nothing).

Critical Hits
Thanks to critical hits, even the lowliest unit can waylay or even destroy a war engine…if they’re lucky enough. Each time a war engine takes a hit (fails to save and so on), the player who owns it must roll D6. On a 6, the war engine loses that point of DC as normal, but also suffers a critical hit. The effects of a critical hit are described in the war engine’s datasheet, and are specific to the type of war engine. For example, Imperial Titans are prone to explode due to unstable plasma reactors, while Ork Gargants have a tendency to catch fire. Critical hits stack up, too, so it is possible to suffer more than one critical hit effect at once (assuming the first one didn’t cause your war engine to blow up, of course).

A Chaos Imperator Titan conversion

War Engines and Assaults
Some war engines, like most Titans and particularly Bio-titans, are devastating in an assault. When rolling to hit in an assault, a war engine rolls a number of dice equal to its starting DC. So a Warlord, all on its lonesome, rolls 8 dice in an assault (and it needs just 2 or better in close combat or 3 or better in a firefight--totally hardcore).

Example of a War Engine Assault
To finish up, let’s play out an example of several Ultramarines formations assaulting a Great Gargant to see what war engines can do.

Infantry assaulting a war engine may seem silly at the outset, but this kind of assault is an abstraction of the troops attempting to penetrate (by any means) the war engine to kill its crew or sabotage and destroy it from the inside.

Three Ultramarines formations position themselves around the ugliest Ork Great Gargant you have ever seen.

For this example, in a prior turn, the Ultramarines player has cleverly positioned two Tactical detachments within 5cm of each other so that the first Captain-led Tactical formation could drag the second Chaplain-led Tactical formation along with him when his formation performs an Engage order (this is the Commander special rule, which Captains enjoy). In his prior activation, the marines player also positioned a Devastator detachment within 15cm of the Great Gargant in order for it to provide supporting fire.

The marines launch their combined assault
The marines player has the initiative. He activates the Tactical detachment (six Tactical stands with three Rhinos, led by a Captain) and performs an Engage order.

Oh captain, my captain!

With an Initiative rating of 1+, the marines pass their activation test automatically and the player moves his troops up to 15cm toward the Great Gargant. The front three stands, including the Captain character stand, manage to get into base-to-base contact so that the Captain gets an additional macro weapon attack.

As mentioned, the Captain is able to drag the second Tactical detachment along for the Engage action, and the marines player moves that formation now. None of this second formation’s units is able to get into base-to-base contact with the war engine, though, so the Chaplain’s extra macro weapon attack is lost, which is a pity.

Two Tactical formations in a combined assault, with a Devastator formation providing supporting fire from the flank

The marines manage a total of one close combat (bypasses the powerfields) macro weapon hit, one normal close combat hit, and five normal firefight hits. The Ork player removes five of his powerfields for the (four of those left, so not a huge loss), and then attempts to save the close combat hits. He fails the macro weapon save, so the Great Gargant has taken a hit and is now at 11 DC. The marines player makes his critical hit roll, but scores a 5. Close!…but no cigar.

The Ork strikes back
Now it’s the Ork player’s turn. For the Great Gargant, the close combat and firefight values are both 3+, but for war engines the player must allocate before hand which dice will be close combat attacks and which will be firefight attacks. He decides that five will be close combat attacks, so the remaining seven will be firefight attacks.

The Ork player rolls the first five dice needing 3 or better to hit, plus one die for the Lifta-Droppa’s extra macro weapon attack. He scores a total of three normal hits, and the one macro weapon also hits—so that’s one marine who won’t make it home right there unless the marines player decides to attempt an Invulnerable save with his Captain (that needs a 6, so not good odds).

For simplicity, the players decide to resolve the close combat saves now. The marines player opts to take the macro weapon hit on his Captain, and attempts an Invulnerable save. He scores a 2. Doh! Goodbye Captain Wossname. The marines player then rolls for his Tactical marines’ saves and only one is successful, so two more marine stands are destroyed for a total of three marines casualties, which is all of the remaining units in base-to-base contact.

The Ork player now rolls the seven firefight dice and scores four more normal hits. Wounds are allocated from the front of the target formation to the back, so the marines player must allocate the four hits to the closest units—the three remaining Tactical marines stands and one Rhino, all from the first formation.

The marines player rolls three dice for the Tactical marines’ saves and manages to save two of them, so one more marines stand is destroyed. He then rolls for the Rhino, which is also saved by its armour.

Supporting fire
Remember the Devastator detachment the marines player had cleverly manoeuvred into position 15cm from the Great Gargant? Now is their time to shine, and they unleash a barrage of heavy weapons fire upon the Ork war engine. Supporting formations use their firefight value, which for Devastators is 3+, so the marines player now rolls four dice (one for each stand in the formation) needing 3s to hit. He scores three hits. These are taken upon the Gargant’s powerfields, whittling them down further, but doing no actual damage.

Resolving the assault
In the assault resolution, the Ork player wins by one, so the two Tactical marines formations are broken and must withdraw while the Great Gargant takes a single blast marker for losing 1DC. Also, the assault resolution score difference of one translates to one additional blast marker on the already-broken marines. For other armies, this would mean an additional casualty, but for marines with the They Shall Know No Fear special rule, this number is halved (and rounded down if appropriate), so no additional casualties are suffered.

So, at the end of the assault, the Gargant has lost four powerfields and a single DC, while the marines player’s Tactical formations are broken and forced out of position, and a Devastator detachment that is now just begging to be assaulted by the Great Gargant. It could easily have gone the marines’ way and resulted in the Great Gargant being broken, which would have potentially been a game-winning watershed for the marines, but this we can chalk up as a win for the Orks.

Packing Up
As you can see from the above example (which, by the way, pitted 1,000 points of Ultramarines against 850 point worth of Great Gargant), war engines can be deadly.

Remember, though, that Epic is a game about combined-arms manoeuvring: no single unit is a game-winning item all on its own, an the example above could have ended with catastrophe for the Ork player. Not even the dreaded Imperator Titan or Mega Gargant is unstoppable if you employ the right strategy and tactics to counter it. The only sight more memorable than your largest and most expensive Titan laying waste to your enemy’s forces is that of your largest and most expensive Titan turned into a burning slag-heap by a savvy opponent.

Special thanks to Onyx for providing the images of his awesome war engines and terrain. Special thanks also to many of the users on TacComs for their invaluable feedback regarding the example assault.

~Bigred here, GR00V3R strikes again. If you like the epic coverage and want more lets hear it. As GR00V3R moves through the game, I'm sure he would love to hear what things you are interested in so he can start brewing up some articles for you guys.

January 27, 2009

HOBBY: Kustom Ork Tank Trakks

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I always have a weakness for cool conversions and when I spotted these "kustom konverted" Orky tracks in my local Battle Bunker a few weeks ago I knew I just had to share them with all the great hobbyists out there. The builder of these painstaking link-by-link track conversions was kind enough to share some photos with me for this article as well as an explanation as to how they were built. One photo is shown above and a few more are at the bottom of this article. So, here in "Chrispy's" own words is an explanation as to how these terrific track conversions came into being:

"Here are the pictures of my Looted Baneblade Custom Orky Tracks. As
you can see, I might have went just a little bit crazy. I have been
out of the hobby for the last four years, and when I started up again,
I pulled out my dusty Baneblade kit to "cut my teef on" as it were. As
soon as I opened the box I noticed that the tracks were covered in
Imperial Eagles. That wouldn't do one bit for a Propa Big Mek.

The first step I took was to lay a piece of sandpaper down on a flat
surface (this time, my cutting mat) and carefully erase all the
surface details.

Next, I sat down and cut out loads of little squares and triangles out
of plasticard for the checks and dags. The squares were actually the
easiest, since I used tile patterned plasticard, and just divided the
individual tiles into quarters.

After those were glued on, I filled in the remaining track sections
with carefully cut pieces of plasticard glyphs. My favorite are the
shoota glyphs. I took special care to ensure that they would be
showing near the front or back of the tank, even when sitting on the

I understand that most of the track detail will be lost during a
normal fielding of the tank. I might be crazy for spending so much
attention to the bottom! However, I know that there may be just that
one guy who's a smart git who will ask, "Dur, izit got dem tracks on
da bottom?" I'll be able to show that, yes, indeed it does.

The total time it took to complete these tracks was about 10 hours
worth of sanding, slicing, chopping and meticulously gluing. Now, I'm
nice and warmed up. Hope you enjoy!"

The custom Ork tracks are only half the story, the converted Baneblade they are going on is equally impressive. Maybe with luck Chrispy will be kind enough to share some pics of that with us when it's done. If you want to see more of his work, Chrispy has a conversion photo gallery over on the dakkadakka forum.

EDITORIAL: What's Wrong With 40K Today

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Hi all, Jwolf here.

Goatboy has been posting tournament lists and strategies for a while, and getting enormous amounts of vitriol in response. I took that in stride, as his articles are about some of the more obnoxious elements of 40K tournament list construction and unpleasant strategies. Now that Bigred has met with similar comments from the peanut gallery, I think it’s time to address six of the issues that obstruct fun in the grim, dark future.

#1 People Don’t Know the Rules
By that, I mean all of us, to a greater or lesser extent, do not have the rules memorized sufficiently to prevent errors. 99% of errors are simple mistakes; the rest are cheating. The problem is that when you look up the error your opponent made (in his own favor) it’s hard not to think he knew the rule and cheated. The solution is to know all the rules and help your opponent play within them. This requires a more thoughtful and systematic approach to learning the rules than the vast majority of tournament players are willing to put forth. And just because you don’t play tournaments doesn’t mean you shouldn't know the rules – every game is made better if the rules are applied accurately and consistently.

#2 The Myth of WAAC Lists
There is no unbeatable list, no perfect build, and lists themselves don’t care at all if they win or lose. Any list can be fun or terrible to play against, so don’t roll your eyes at a list and groan, make the best of it and move on. If a player consistently brings lists that are not fun to play against to friendly games, nature will handle the issue, and most tournaments have composition scoring. If your local tournaments are being dominated by particular lists, build to beat those lists yourself.

#3 The Myth of WAAC Players
Honestly, this is one of the worst concepts out there. If the player is just an a--hole and no fun to play against, he’s just an a--hole and no fun to play against. If he cheats to win, he’s a cheater. If he’s both, he’s a cheating a--hole. Implying that a desire to win is somehow part of the problem helps to perpetuate the myth that anyone who plays to win is part of the problem, which is decidedly not the truth. Yes, people who cheat and lie to win will break the rules to win (#1 is our part of making this go away). For friendly games, shun cheaters. In tournaments, report them and dock them all the points you legitimately can.

#4 Believing the Most Important Rule is the Only Important Rule
Play the game by all of the rules, don’t expect your house rules to become the standard. If you think your opponent isn’t following the rules, say something and get it worked out according to the rules. Remember that your opponent is under no obligation to let your super command squad destroy his army just so the game plays like the background stories you write on the fiction section of your blog.

#5 Believing the Most Important Rule Isn’t Important
Give your opponent the benefit of the doubt and don’t expect the same. That unit might be 6” or 6.1”? Let it go, either way. Your opponent forgot to move a unit until he was halfway through his shooting phase (or even when done with shooting)? Let them move it. If there is a time limit, play to the best of your ability so as to make it possible to finish in the time limit. Remember that the other person’s time is as valuable as yours, so avoid texting, taking phone calls, and other distractions as much as possible.

#6 Stupid Dice Tricks
These include having a special pair of dice you only roll for Leadership tests; picking up your hits instead of your misses; refusing to reroll an unclear roll; applying your rules about cocked dice inconsistently; and any of those “dice-rolling techniques” (cheating on your rolls). People notice when you do any of these things, and every one of these makes the game less fun for your opponent.

~Six simple things to make the game more fun for BOTH players. Why not give them a try at your next outing and see what happens. And always, your comments are welcome. What do you think is really AT THE CORE of fun being detracted from the 40k scene?

January 26, 2009

40K NEWS: Codex Space Marines FAQ

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Get it while its hot.

~Hmmm, the intrigueing mystery of page 3.

Goatboy's 40k Thoughts: I like to Paint!

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I will admit that the competitive aspects of 40k is one of the main driving points that bring me to play a game with plastic dudes and unforgiving dice rolls, but it isn’t the only thing. I really enjoy painting and converting up my armies.

So this week, I’ve decided that instead of looking at different tactics that can help win you the game, I wanted to go into another avenue of the game, making your models look kick ass.

Will start with the basics. One of the cooler ways to help your army stand out is to create bases that are just more then some sand covered in paint and a small splash of “grass”. I keep just about any plastic piece I get. Whether it is a pointless upgrade, or some other kind of random door you never see, I usually throw it into my bitz box. I am sure everyone does this, but I like to use these pieces to help spruce up my bases. Most of the time, I randomly glue it on the base, then take my mini and figure out if it can fit on it in a cool way. Once that seems to work out, I glue it on, put some sand on it and then let it dry to get ready to be primed. What was once junk, is now a cool piece that my dude destroyed.

Another way to create a neat force is to pick a color set and try to add it to every model in the army, but not in the same place. This gives you a complete look to the army and helps break the monotony. You can also do this by creating some wear and tear on your units. Add some mud, blood, broken bits to your models. This makes them stand out as they march on the field. It is small things like this can create a quick clash of the color scheme, and help make a more interesting model.

I am a real big fan of the new washes and find that layering them can create neat shades of color on top of the base color. In fact, I have started to experiment with metal bases with washes on top. It creates a multi hewed look that can be a really eye catcher on specific types of armies. You can easily create a rusted look by basing your metal in blazing orange, then drying brush a brase on top, and finishing with some highlights of boltgun metal mixed with a wash of devlan mud. The wash has brown in it, and mixed with the orange that will seep through the metal, give you a nice rust look.

If you don’t want to use the GW washes, you can create your own washes using some paint, some water and some matt medium. Make sure you get matt medium, as anything else might have some gloss to it that will make the folds and inner bits of the figure a bit too shiny. If you want them shiney, then go for it. But I know for a fact that the Emperor thinks shiney folds are signs of treason.

The painting and modeling aspects of this hobby is what keeps me coming back to create new and more interesting models as well as lists. You can ask my local store, I am always working on some new and funky list because I finished painting off the last one. I think the only army I can never say is fully “done” is my orks. There are just too many green skins to paint up. Mix that with the stompa coming out, and it looks like I will be busy until summer time haha.

Here are some pics of my work area, my own “hobby” room (fiancé has half as she is an artist too). You can see all the random projects lying around. Most of the time, I have about 2 things I am working on at any given moment. I am currently doing up some daemons for a client in town, as well as making some random chaos stuff for his army. My own work is slowly going on marines as well as fixing up the bases of my chaos army. Fun fun fun.

Hoped you enjoyed looking at my laboratory. I swear there isn’t just math running around in my head as well as rolling dice. I wouldn’t be playing this game if it wasn’t for the painting as well as modeling aspect of it. I can only get so excited by rolling a bunch of dice and hoping for that magic 6. And for those looking for some kind of tactics, I posted a funky Fabius bile list that is based off of the nurgle list I am slowly building.

“The Father and his Sons”

HQ: Counts as Fabius Bile – “The Father” : 160 pts
HQ: Daemon Prince, Wings, Mark of Nurgle, Warptime : 175 pts
Troops: Plague Marines (10), Plasma Gun (2), Rhino, Asp Champ, Power Fist, Plasma Gun : 350 pts
Troops: Chaos Marines (10), Meltagun (2), Mark of Nurgle, Enhanced Marines, Rhino, Asp Champ, Power Fist : 345 pts
Troops: Chaos Marines (10), Meltagun (2), Mark of Nurgle, Enhanced Marines, Rhino, Asp Champ, Power Fist : 345 pts
Heavy: Defiler, close combat weapons : 150 pts
Heavy: Defiler, close combat weapons : 150 pts
Heavy: Obliterators (2) : 150 pts
Elites: Terminators (5), Combi-Meltas (5) : 175 Pts

Pts: 2000 KP: 13 : Scoring: 3

I've been having fun with plasma gun plague marines lately, and feel they are one of the few units in the game, that plasma versus melta is a much harder debate then other units. Plus I converted mine up with some cool ones, and I don't want to break them up heh.

If you have any questions you can email me. I also have a commission site for those interested. Look for more modeling, painting, as well as tactic articles in the coming weeks. I have my Adepticon gladiator list written, I just need to make 2 more squads of dudes to get ready as well as finish a friends army up so he can be ready. Look for a picture of the Forgeworld Bloodthirster too.

January 25, 2009

Marines Errant Logo Sheet

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The Badab Series moves on... Here we have the Marines Errant. These guys have had several run-ins with their nemisis, the Red Corsairs. The chapter recently lost a majority of their gene-seed to to Huron Blackheart in a daring raid on their Fortress-Monastary on Vilamus

I have been noting (again) that GW does a great job of covering the major 1st Founding and select 2nd Founding chapters with their decal sheets. However, there are a number of great looking 2nd and later founding chapters who get a good amount of back-story and have great alternative uniform colors that never have had decals produced for them. In the interest of promoting diversity in the Marine community and encouraging players to branch out beyond the "big 4", I keep knocking out logo sheets for some of these other chapters who I think look great and have no GW decal support.

Here is the link to the PDF file for the decal sheet you can freely pull down and use:

Download Here

The sheet is designed for printout on Decal printer paper which is easily available online. These decals are designed for the CLEAR or WHITE decal paper. The procedure is as follows:

CLEAR PAPER: If you use the clear decals for the logos without blue edgine, the decals need to be applied to a light colored surface to be visible at all. The procedure is to apply the decals to a white surface, and wait till they are fully dried.

WHITE PAPER: Just cut out the decals with the blue edging and apply them to a matching blue surface. When they are fully dried, you can touch up any messed up edge detail with blue paint.

Click here for a detailed Custom Decal Tutorial

Size wise, the larger decals towards the top are best used for super heavies/terrain, and move down in size to the large array of Marine Shoulderpad towards the bottom. I've included the standard Marines Errant logo against a blue field, and small number of ones agasint a white background for those wanting something special for your elite models and/or sergeants. Also note that the decal can be rotated so yoy can use it on either left or right sides of models.

In any case, enjoy and I wish you the best in using this set for your forces.

~Please feel free to leave comments if there is a special Chapter, Craftworld, or something else you would love to collect, but have no GW decal options, and I will see what I can do. The Badab series of almost over, and then I'll get back to some of the popular requests.

Exorcists Logo Sheet

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The Badab Series moves on... Here we have the Exorcists. These guys are also featured in the new Marine codex, and apparently initiate every aspirant into the chapter by possessing them with a daemon, then exorcising it! They aren't Grey Knights, but that is some crazy anti-chaos rites right there!

I have been noting (again) that GW does a great job of covering the major 1st Founding and select 2nd Founding chapters with their decal sheets. However, there are a number of great looking 2nd and later founding chapters who get a good amount of back-story and have great alternative uniform colors that never have had decals produced for them. In the interest of promoting diversity in the Marine community and encouraging players to branch out beyond the "big 4", I keep knocking out logo sheets for some of these other chapters who I think look great and have no GW decal support.

Here is the link to the PDF file for the decal sheet you can freely pull down and use:

Download Here

The sheet is designed for printout on Decal printer paper which is easily available online. These decals are designed for the CLEAR or WHITE decal paper. The procedure is as follows:

CLEAR PAPER: If you use the clear decals, the decals need to be applied to a light colored surface to be visible at all. The procedure is to apply the decals to a white surface, and wait till they are fully dried. Then using the colored red or black outlines as a guide, paint in the matching color around the decal. It is odd, but gets the job done.

WHITE PAPER: Just cut out the decals and apply them to a matching red or black surface. When they ae fully dried, you can touch up any messed up edge detail with red or black paint.

Click here for a detailed Custom Decal Tutorial

Size wise, the larger decals towards the top are best used for super heavies/terrain, and move down in size to the large array of Marine Shoulderpad towards the bottom. I've included the standard Exorcists logo aggasint a red field, and small number of ones agasint a black background for those wanting something special for your elite models and/or sergeants.

In any case, enjoy and I wish you the best in using this set for your forces.

~Please feel free to leave comments if there is a special Chapter, Craftworld, or something else you would love to collect, but have no GW decal options, and I will see what I can do. The Badab series of almost over, and then I'll get back to some of the popular requests.

January 24, 2009

NEWS: British Pound Sterling in Freefall

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Hi all,

A bit of a diversion but its worth it. After all the months of ominous headlines regarding the world financial crisis, many of you have tuned it out. This last week however, many of those dire economic chickens have come home to roost in the United Kingdom, and the Pound Sterling has collapsed in recent days.

As of this morning (Jan 23-2009) the British Pound exchange rate versus the Dollar is 1.37 to 1.

As recently as last June, the rate was just over 2 to 1. This is the lowest the British Pound has been versus the Dollar since 1985. What this means for our US readers is the time to buy Forgeworld is NOW. Your purchase power for British goods has not been this great in over 20 years.

Here are a few example Forgeworld prices converted over to Dollars at today's exchange rates to get your attention.

MALCADOR HEAVY TANK (all variants): $87.10

~Head on over to Forgeworld to see their full inventory. The Fly Lords are putting our order in next Wednesday, but we thought we should let the community know as well.

January 23, 2009

ARMY LIST: The Homecoming Queen has a Lasgun!

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Hi everybody, JWolf here.

I get a lot of requests for my current IG list and playstyle so here you go. Here’s the list and doctrines I won the January Austin-BFG Tournament with, with discussion to follow. Remember that this was a no-comp "Heavy" Tournament, which means I reasonably could expect to face Nob Bikers, Mech Eldar (with Eldrad), Twin Lash Princes, Goatboy, and other maximized lists of evilness.

JWolf's Imperial Guard: 2000pts

-Drop Troops
-Close Order Drill

-Junior Officer (Honorifica), Banner
-Support Team (Lascannons, sharpshooters)
-Support Team (Lascannons, sharpshooters)
-Support Team (Auto-cannons, sharpshooters)
-Support Team (Heavy bolters, sharpshooters)
-Lascannon Sentinel

-10 Ratlings
- Veterans (3 melta, shotgun, ccw+pistol, shotgun sarge)
- Veterans (3 melta, shotgun, ccw+pistol, shotgun sarge)

-Junior Officer + scrubs
Infantry Squad (Lascannon/Plasma)
Infantry Squad (Meltagun/Vet Sarge)
-Armored Fist (Meltagun/ Vet Sarge)


-Leman Russ (3x Heavy Bolters)
-Demolisher (Lascannon, Plasma Cannons)
-Basilisk (Indirect)

This is a very heavy list for me – I almost never take the Lascannon support teams or the Veterans doctrine. Here’s how I like to play it:

Support Weapons and HQ form the center of the castle, with the Lascannon teams ideally placed on high ground. This gives them LD 9 with rerolls, almost guaranteeing they will die in place, not break.

The Ratlings grab a piece of cover and shoot at big nasty things. Ratlings are very much worth it in 5e, just remember that it is better to drop down and get the 2+ cover save (and not have to take a morale test) if there are tons of wound rolls incoming.

The Veterans hide behind walls and/or tanks, ready to pour short-range death into enemies that come close. Alternatively they can drop or outflank as needed.

Troops avoid dying, shoot what they can, and sacrifice themselves for the team as needed. Usually at least one Troop unit starts in reserve, preserving the ability to hold an objective late in the game.

Hellhounds make people cry. No one likes being covered in burning Promethium. I tend to use them either as anti-assault walls, or, on the rare turns they have working guns, burn people.

The big tanks do what big tanks do – drop pie plates and hope to kill something. The interaction of TLOS rules, area terrain, and barrage ignoring intervening cover (and hitting side armor) make the Basilisk able to contribute well enough to keep its place, but just barely. The 14/13/11 Demolisher is a consistently great killer; its cannon destroys Plaguebearers and Nob Bikers, two of the worst opponent units for the Guard.

In objective-driven scenarios, the overall plan is kill all opponent scoring units so they cannot control objectives, and preserve my scoring units to grab objectives. I hold at least 2 scoring units in reserve in each objective-driven game, either to drop in or just walk in on my board edge. The presence of so much AT firepower means that tanks have trouble reaching the lines, and infantry have to approach on a broad front to minimize the effect of the ordnance and Inferno Cannons. This makes it hard for my opponent to concentrate firepower on units and wipe them out.

For kill points, I just have to remember to shoot units dead and move to the next one. A couple rounds of good shooting reduces opponent firepower and assault potential to the point that the Guard can win Annihilation without killing every model, but it is best to ignore the kill points and kill things in the standard order of operations: things that kill my tanks at range, assault troops at close range, fast troop units, large assault units, and everybody else. Yes, I have a lot of fairly easy to get Kill Points. Making an Imperial Guard army that is optimized for kill points is like teaching your grandma to play tackle football; you can do it, but it doesn’t make any sense and may qualify as abuse in some jurisdictions.

JWolf's Q&A
Now answers to questions before they are asked:

What do you do about CC armies? I shoot them. I screen with tanks moving 12”. If they reach my lines, I move screening units in front and endeavor to allow them to only kill one unit. Roughriders are not cost efficient and countercharge is not part of my strategy here. In Fifth Edition no Guard unit is a good CC choice.

Why don’t you take (favorite unit X)? Because I’ve used everything available to the Guard and my style of play makes these units most efficient for killing everything.

What do you do about outflanking Genestealers? Snikrot? Drop Pod Assault? I take my lumps and kill them. I have been known to block a board edge entirely and spread units so that no Drop Pods can land in the interior of my units.

How is this list fun to play with(or play against)? Lists are not fun to play; opponents can be. I had an excellent time with each of my opponents for the tournament, and believe they also enjoyed themselves.

Can you post some battle reports? I'll put them in the comments over the next few days.

~Comments welcome, and enjoy that shoutout all you Downtown Julie Brown fans!

40K NEWS: Stompa & Shadowsword Advanced Orders

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Hi guys,

GW just put up the Stompa and Shadowsword kit for Advance Order. Check out the links to preorder your today. Also check out all these gorgeous hi-res shots of the two kits.



~I'm wondering if the shadowsword kit will come with 6 Apocalypse sheets as I think a couple of those variants are new (maybe). I'm also enjoying the little details you can see inthe Stompa closeups, especially the grots.

UPDATE: White Dwarf will provide the Apocalypse Data Sheets for the new Imperial super-heavies.
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